The Mexican family of an illegal immigrant shot after threatening a U.S. Border Patrol agent is suing the federal officer responsible for the killing as well as the U.S. government.
It happened in 2007, about 150 yards north of the Mexico-Arizona border between Bisbee and Douglas. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett apprehended a group of illegal Mexican aliens when one of them, Francisco Dominguez, supposedly became aggressive and attacked him with rocks. Fearing for his life, the federal officer shot and killed Dominguez.
After the Mexican government intervened, Corbett was charged with murder. Key witnesses for the prosecution were relatives of the killed illegal alien—two brothers and a sister-in-law—that made the desert trek with Dominguez. A Cochise County jury failed to indict. When Corbett was retried, charges were dropped as a second jury failed to reach a decision.
During the last week of August, Dominguez’s family in Mexico filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Tucson federal court claiming that the border agent violated the illegal immigrant’s constitutional rights by using unlawful deadly force in the course of his duties as a U.S. government employee. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the lawsuit points out, the U.S. government is liable for a negligent or wrongful act of its employees.
The complaint further alleges that Corbett was very vocal about his “hatred of Mexicans” and that the U.S. Border Patrol should have known about the agent’s history of “ethnic hatred” before allowing him in the field. The agency’s negligent hiring practices essentially led to the illegal immigrant’s death, according to the complaint.
Violence along the border has escalated. Since 2004, incidents involving federal agents and heavily armed Mexican drug traffickers have increased. Human smugglers participating in the trafficking of illegal aliens have also attacked U.S. Border Patrol agents with an assortment of weapons ranging from firearms to venomous reptiles, to large rocks and Molotov cocktails. But does any of this justify the wanton murder of an illegal alien who may only have been alleged to have been throwing rocks in an aggressive manner? When these cases are considered, if a bizarre and contrived scenario is created by law enforcement as a defense, it most likely is a bizarre and contrived scenario. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and thrusts its beak forward like a duck, it’s probably not an aardvark.
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