Erick Diaz Cruz, who was shot in the hand and his face on Feb. 6 by an ICE agent in New York, has filed a lawsuit against the officer who pulled the trigger.
According to the lawsuit, Diaz Cruz was on vacation in Gravesend when he woke up to two ICE officers struggling in the street with his mother’s longtime boyfriend, Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez.
“Minutes later, standing only a few feet from one of the officers, Mr. Diaz Cruz saw the ICE officer reach for something at his hip,” the lawsuit claims. “Mr. Diaz Cruz covered his face for protection. The ICE officer fired a gun directly at Mr. Diaz Cruz’s face.”
The suit goes on to say, “The officers were not under threat by Mr. Diaz Cruz or anyone else near him — much less in immediate danger of deadly or serious bodily harm.”
ICE however, claims that the shooting happened in a different way.
According to ICE, “A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Fugitive Operations Team discharged at least one firearm in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday morning when officers were physically attacked while attempting to arrest Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez, a twice-removed illegal alien from Mexico with a 2011 assault conviction in New York City.”
Diaz Cruz is still in the hospital after the bullet went through his hand and arm and lodged in his neck as he confronted the officers.
The suit says that Diaz Cruz may lose vision to his left eye and suffered several fractured bones.
“It would be terrible and in my view retaliatory for their misconduct in shooting him. Unfortunately, I think we’ve all seen situations where people are wrongly accused as a part of a cover up attempt, but I certainly hope that won’t happen,” Katie Rosenfeld, Diaz Cruz’s lawyer said.
Rosenfeld said that Diaz Cruz’s main purpose in filing the lawsuit is to hold accountable those responsible for his shooting.
“This is not just an attack against me, but also an attack against the entire Latino community in the United States,” Díaz Cruz said in a statement. “This is the right time for our community to come together to protest against and protect ourselves from ICE’s violence.”