The family of a man who was shot in the head by police officers in Mississippi after going to the wrong house to investigate a domestic dispute has been told that the state is not liable for his death because he was an illegal immigrant.
In a shockingly blunt legal letter that was submitted earlier this month, Southaven city lawyers accuse the man's widow of being married to several men.
They say that even though it was the town's fault that he died, the couple has no protection under the 14th amendment to the US Constitution, because neither is an American citizen.
Ismael Lopez was shot and killed by unnamed police officers who came to his door in July 2017, pounding.
They had received a call to report an incident involving domestic violence and wrongly went to Lopez's house.
Ismael Lopez, 41, was shot dead last year. His widow Claudia Linares, pictured with him, denounces the city of Southaven for unlawful death
What exactly happened next is up for discussion. The man's widow, Claudia Linares, denies the police's claim that her husband stuck a gun out of the door and then closed it.
At that time, the neighbors said the police rushed through the door and slapped him in the back of the head. He was declared dead shortly thereafter.
The police involved were never appointed. They did not have to wear body cameras, and a large jury decided not to charge them after looking at the evidence of the shooting.
Frustrated, Lopez's widow filed an unlawful death trial last year in search of $ 20 million.
The family trailer in Southaven, Mississippi. The police arrived there in July 2017 to respond to a domestic incident, but they got the wrong house and knocked on Ismael & # 39; s door
The police did not wear a body camera & # 39; s that would have made the recordings. They claimed that Lopez stuck his gun through a crack in the door and then pulled back and slapped it in their faces. His widow disputes it
Bullet holes show where shots were fired through the door last July. Neighbors say that Lopez was on the other side
The murder led to Southaven, Mississippi protest last year. The two agents were never charged
The city argued on 3 September and disputed that they were liable.
Lawyer Katherine S. Kerby called Linares the & alleged wife & # 39; of the victim and described an & # 39; alleged shooting & # 39 ;.
She wondered if they had ever been married and claimed that Linares was married to two other men and called the victim a & # 39; fugitive & # 39; who had ignored various deportation orders.
& # 39; If he ever had the fourth or fourteenth civil rights, they were lost due to his own behavior and misconduct.
& # 39; Ismael Lopez was perhaps a person on American territory, but he was not one of the & # 39; We, the people of the United States & # 39; who were entitled to the civil rights invoked in this process, & # 39; Kerby wrote.
The Linares lawyers said Thursday that they were stunned by the language used in the filing.
Katherine S. Kerby (left), the city's lawyer, called the man's widow his & # 39; alleged wife & # 39; throughout the legal application and wondering if they were ever married – something she says is & # 39; chilling and offensive & # 39;
& # 39; We are stunned that someone put this in writing, & # 39; said her lawyer Murray Wells and described it as & # 39; chilling & # 39 ;.
He said their argument might just as well have been that & # 39; stormtroopers can enter your home and kill you & # 39; if you are not a paper immigrant.
& # 39; It's a real shame that they have to use these tactics to foul someone's name when she loses her partner, the love of her life, in a tragic accident, & # 39; said Aaron Neglia, one of the woman's lawyers.
Linares presented a marriage certificate from 2003 to prove their allegations that she and Lopez were not legally wrong married.
The Supreme Court has routinely determined that people in the US are protected and entitled to fundamental human rights, regardless of their immigration status.
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