Unarmed Tourist Shot In Face By ICE Agent Files Lawsuit

WCBS 880 Newsroom
February 19, 2020 - 5:52 pm
ICE agent

John Moore/Getty Images


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A man who was shot by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents as they tried to arrest another man in Brooklyn filed a federal civil rights action on Wednesday.

The lawsuit details how Erick Diaz Cruz, 26, came to the rescue of his mother’s boyfriend, Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez, when he saw him engaged in a confrontation with two men in plain clothes on Feb. 6.

The suit claims an officer then pointed a gun at Diaz Cruz’s face and he attempted to shield his face with a hand. The ICE officer fired one round and the bullet pierced the 26-year-old’s hand and entered the left side of his face.

At the time of the shooting, neither Diaz Cruz nor Avendano-Hernandez were armed.

“This is not just an attack against me, but also an attack against the entire Latino community in the United States,” Diaz 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.”

The shooting left the 26-year-old with fractures to multiple bones in his face and hand. According to a press release, doctors believe he may have permanent vision loss in his left eye.

“A young, hard-working and law-abiding man was gunned down on the streets of Brooklyn in broad daylight in front of his family, shot in the face at point blank range, by an agent of the United States government,” said his attorney Katie Rosenfeld. “Erick posed no threat to anyone, at any time. Erick’s face is shattered, and he and his family are traumatized.  We are a nation of laws, equality and justice; Erick’s case demands that we live up to those values.”

Diaz Cruz lives in Mexico and was in New York City under a tourist visa to visit his mother and younger brother.