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Florida man seen yelling at teens in viral video ID’d as immigration employee

Kristina Webb
kwebb@pbpost.com
Florida Times-Union

WELLINGTON -- The man captured in a video ranting at a Black teen Sunday in an affluent Wellington neighborhood is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services analyst, The Palm Beach Post learned Thursday.

Lee Jeffers, 60, moved to Wellington five years ago to work at the immigration office on Belvedere Road just east of Royal Palm Beach, several sources said. A statement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed Thursday night that he does work for the federal agency.

Jeffers was seen in a video shared earlier this week with The Palm Beach Post where he yelled at three teens, directing some comments specifically to a Black 15-year-old girl.

“You don’t belong in this development,” he told her, followed later by, “You do not deserve to be in here.”

In the statement, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson said the organization, which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, holds its employees to high standards “regardless if they are on or off-duty.”

“We are looking into the matter that has been reported in the press about this individual’s off-duty behavior,” the spokesperson said. “The video is certainly disturbing, and we are working to get all available information in considering what action, if any, may be appropriate for the agency to take.”

Both Jeffers and the teen live on the same street in Grand Isles, a gated community off Lake Worth Road. According to county records, Jeffers lives a handful of houses away from where the girl, Breonna Nelson-Hicks, lives with her grandparents.

The teen’s grandfather, Tony Nelson, spoke with The Post Tuesday about the clash. Breonna and four friends -- two boys and two girls -- were riding in a golf cart and had stopped at the neighborhood’s security gate. Almost immediately, Nelson said, a man the teens didn’t know began following them closely, almost hitting them at one point.

Frightened, the boys left the golf cart and ran, but the three girls continued walking to Breonna’s house, Nelson said.

That led to the confrontation in the Nelson family’s driveway, with the man now identified as Jeffers yelling at the teens, threatening to call the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to have them removed from the neighborhood and then denying any threat when questioned by Nelson.

Both Nelson and Jeffers called PBSO to report the incident, records obtained by The Palm Beach Post show. Jeffers was not identified by The Post in an initial article because PBSO redacted his name from the report, citing an exemption for 911 callers or people requesting emergency help. Other attempts Wednesday to confirm his identity were unsuccessful.

In a statement to The Post on Wednesday, a PBSO spokeswoman said the man in the video told deputies he almost hit the golf cart.

“I am told unless this is a low-speed vehicle with a tag on it, the golf cart is not supposed to be driven on the road,” the spokeswoman said. “As the video shows, the male confronted the juveniles and some of what he said would be in-line with the fact that the golf cart should not be on the road. We received two calls and when the deputies arrived, the male had already gone home. Deputies did speak to the juveniles and made contact with the male next day. Based on both accounts no crime was committed.”

Phone calls to numbers listed for Jeffers hit dead ends on Thursday. An email bounced back as undeliverable.

This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.