Photo: Border crossing at San Diego/Tijuana
Family members of a Mexican migrant killed at the San Diego border crossing have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States government.
The suit states that on May 28th, Anastacio Hernandez, 42, was beaten by immigration agents before one of them shot him with a stun gun several times once he was already on the ground. Hernandez’s family argue that the agents used excessive force.
The San Diego County coroner has ruled the death a homicide. It was determined that a heart attack, hypertension and methamphetamine use were contributing factors, but not the cause.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, and family attorney Eugene Iredale said the cases’ key evidence is cell-phone audio from a witness. Iredale said that, on the recording, Hernandez can be heard crying for help as a witness yells for agents to stop.
“This was a man who was frightened and who was really, at the time, pleading for his life,” Iredale said at news conference organized by San Diego’s Mexican consulate.
Spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Jackie Wasiluk, expressed she would not comment on pending litigation.
President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon has denounced the incident. He stated that a death “with that degree of violence is a truly unacceptable violation.”
Last month, the government denied the family’s administrative claim for damages.
It has been reported that Hernandez was deported last May after being stopped for a traffic violation in San Diego. He returned to the U.S., but was arrested by Border Patrol. He was being taken back to Tijuana, Mexico when he was shot with the stun gun.
He lived in San Diego for more than 20 years, and is survived by his partner, Maria Puga. The couple had five children, ages 4 to 20.