From [HERE] The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking $100 million on behalf of the family of a Guatemalan woman who was shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, is reporting.
The legal claim was filed Thursday – one year after Claudia Patricia Gómez González, 20, was killed.
The ACLU claims she “posed no threat to anyone, as would have been obvious from the slightest glance.” The claim says she was unarmed.
CBS News said that Gómez González, along with several migrants, had crossed the southern border and were confronted by a Border Patrol agent, who opened fire.
The claim, filed by the ACLU of Texas, demands $50 million each for personal injury and her wrongful death.
"Her life was as valuable as anyone else's, and her family deserves justice for their loss," said Andre Segura, the group's legal director. "Our government has a responsibility to treat everyone lawfully, humanely, and with respect regardless of how they came into this country."
The officer was searching for “illegal activity” in a culvert on a residential street in Rio Bravo, a border town about seven miles south of Laredo, when a group of undocumented immigrants started to hit him with “blunt objects,” United States Customs and Border Protection said. The officer, whose name was not released, fired at least one shot with his handgun, fatally striking the woman in the head.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol's parent agency, maintained a member of the group rushed the agent and ignored orders to get on the ground. It claimed the agent fired one round.
A woman who lives next door to the site of the shooting disputed the federal agency’s account of the events, saying that the property does not have a culvert and that she did not see any weapons that the group could have used.
“They were on the very corner on that lot where there was a tree,” the woman, Marta V. Martinez, said in an interview Thursday morning. “There was no weapon. They were hiding.”
In an unpublished video viewed by BuzzFeed News, the sounds of ambulance sirens and crackling Border Patrol radios get louder as Martínez walks closer to the back of the empty lot, which is overrun by brush and trash.
“Come over here,” a Border Patrol agent can be heard saying in a mix of English and Spanish to a migrant man, one of the people Claudia had been with. “Come with me... What’s your friend’s name?”
As the border agent takes the man into custody and walks him toward the street, he points in Martínez’s direction and tells another agent that there are two more migrants on her property. They were hiding inside a dark and crumbling trailer home that occupies a spot on the lot.
Moments later, Martínez’s camera points to Claudia’s motionless body. She’s facedown in the brush near the chain-link fence that divides the two properties.
“Hey, we don’t want footage in there,” an agent tells Martínez.
“Why did you guys shoot him?” Martínez says, ignoring the agent.
“Hey, no, please, don’t get into this,” the Border Patrol agent says.
Martínez stays near the fence and continues to record. Claudia’s head is pointing to one of the front corners of the property, and her feet are near the fence. When the agent flips Claudia’s body over, the video captures Martínez’s horrified gasp. Blood covers the woman’s face. Martínez said that’s when she realized how young Claudia was.
“Oh my god, she's a girl, and you guys shoot her in the face,” Martínez says to the agents, her voice rising with shock.
That’s when Martínez went live on Facebook and started to follow the Border Patrol agents around her property as they detained two more migrant men. She asks repeatedly why the agents shot the young woman. At times, her tone is scolding.
“Why did you kill that woman? You killed her!” Martínez is heard saying to the agents. “I saw you with the gun.”
Later that day, CBP put out its first version of what had happened. In a statement, it said a lone Border Patrol agent had discovered a group of migrant people near a culvert. “Initial reports indicate that as the agent attempted to apprehend the group, he came under attack by multiple subjects using blunt objects,” the statement said, describing Claudia as “one of the assailants.” The agent, the statement said, then fired at least one shot and killed Claudia.
Two days later, CBP issued another statement, this time omitting any mention of blunt objects. It said a 15-year veteran of the Border Patrol had been “allegedly assaulted” and “rushed.”
“According to the agent, the group ignored his verbal commands [to get on the ground] and instead rushed him,” the statement read.
Martínez’s unpublished video, which she’s turned over to the FBI, challenges those accounts. For one, several agents are visible, though whether they arrived before or after the shooting isn’t apparent. For another, Claudia’s body is in the bushes near the fence that separates the empty lot from Martínez’s. Martínez thinks Claudia probably was hiding.
“It really angers and saddens me at the same time,” Martínez said. [MORE]
Gómez González had left for the U.S. after living in poverty and not being able to find work, CBS News reported.