Laredo Family Sues Government for Civil Rights Abuses

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      
February 27, 2008             

Contact: Israel M. Reyna, Attorney
956.251.3485 
ireyna@trla.org
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director
512.374.2764
cmartinez@trla.org

LAREDO, Texas – Several members of a Laredo family have filed a lawsuit against the federal government and a Border Patrol agent for numerous civil rights abuses and injuries suffered during an illegal search and seizure.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the family alleges that they were stopped by a Border Patrol agent based on an anonymous tip that they were carrying undocumented immigrants in the trunk of their car.  After being threatened with arrest, the family allowed the agent to search their vehicle and proceeded to return home.  Although no contraband was found, the agent followed the family to their home and placed several family members under arrest while claiming that they were not obeying his orders.

“This suit is a border citizens’ manifesto declaring ‘zero tolerance’ against Border Patrol civil rights abuses,” said TRLA attorney Israel M. Reyna, who is representing the family.  “This suit should serve as notice to our federal government that border patrol agents cannot violate constitutional rights.  Border residents have the same rights as people across the United States.”

The lawsuit argues that the incident violated the family’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.  The family is also making claims of assault, battery, and false imprisonment against the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
 
TRLA attorney Celestino Gallegos added, “Citizens should be able to demand that the government respect their constitutional rights without fear that they will suffer repercussions for doing so.  What happened to this family is unacceptable.”

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.
 

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2 thoughts on “Laredo Family Sues Government for Civil Rights Abuses

  1. On Aug 24th of 2008 I was walking with my date and my dog when I was attacked and beaten by two probationary BP agents. My home is the second house from Mexico right on the beach in CA. Kicking kids off the beach and roughing up residents is not why I moved into my beach front condo. I am afraid to walk my dog at night and I am tired of all this abuse. The broke my back in three places, kicked me in the head, two cracked ribs, and are now putting pressure on the witnesses. Let this be a lesson, “A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither.” T. Jefferson

  2. It would seem that the BP have some serious issues. Firstly, they have nearly an all ex military staff. This leads one to believe that the govenment is trying to put the military on the boarders. Secondly, I happen to kno that the culture among the ranks is to CYA at whatever cost and civil rights don’t mean anything to these people. One could conclude that most of these BP agents have never even red the Bill of Rights.

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