Erick Diaz, 26, was shot in the face during a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest in Brooklyn earlier this month is now suing the agent who blasted him. Erick Diaz, filed a suit in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday seeking unspecific damages, arguing that he was unarmed and posed no threat to the federal officers. Diaz, a Mexican resident, says he was on vacation visiting his mom in Gravesend on Feb. 6 when he awoke to find two ICE officers struggling in the street with his mother’s longtime boyfriend, Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez, according to his suit.
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 suit reads. Mr. Diaz Cruz covered his face for protection. The ICE officer fired a gun directly at Mr. Diaz Cruz’s face. 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, the suit alleges.
Diaz’s version of events differ from how ICE and sourced said the shooting unfolded. 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, the agency said at the time. Law enforcement sources told at the time that Diaz had reached for the officer’s gun. Diaz’s lawsuit, which is against the unnamed officer whose gun went off, says Diaz may lose vision to his left eye and suffered several fractured bones from the blast.
The bullet, which passed through Diaz’s left hand and cheek, remains lodged behind his ear, the suit says. Katie Rosenfeld, Diaz’s attorney, said in a statement: Erick posed no threat to anyone, at any time. Erick’s face is shattered, and he and his family are traumatized. A spokeswoman for ICE declined to comment on the lawsuit. The shooting is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, which did not respond to a request for comment.