Southaven
This photo of Ismael Lopez and his wife, Claudia Linares, was shown to reporters during a news conference on July 28, 2017, in Memphis. Authorities say Lopez was shot by police in Southaven, Miss. (Adrian Sainz/AP)

Mississippi Police Kill Innocent Man, Say He Had No Constitutional Rights Because He Is Undocumented

On July 24, 2017, police in Southaven, Miss., burst into 41-year-old Ismael Lopez’s house just before midnight. They were looking for a domestic violence suspect. They didn’t know at the time, but they were in the wrong person’s house, The Washington Post reported.

Police knocked on Lopez’s door then opened fire, killing him. Lopez, an undocumented immigrant, died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Prosecutors declined to charge the officers, so his widow, Claudia Linares, decided to sue the city of Southaven for $20 million for a civil rights violation.

But lawyers for Southaven are arguing that because the innocent man was not an American citizen, he wasn’t protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times in other cases that people who are physically in the United States do have rights, even if they are not documented citizens.

Related Article: Orlando Resource Officer Dennis Turner Fired After Arresting Two 6-year-olds

“If he ever had Fourth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment civil rights, they were lost
by his own conduct and misconduct,” Southaven attorney Katherine S. Kerby wrote in a brief filed Sept. 4. “Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.

Police officers claimed that Lopez opened the door of his house just a crack and pointed a gun at them. According to the Post, his wife and lawyers deny that.

Lawyers for Southaven, grasping at straws, also tried to say that Linares and Lopez were not legally married and described Linares as a “bigamous paramour.” That was quickly ruled out when lawyers for the Lopez estate filed a marriage certificate showing that the two were married in Arkansas in 2003, the Post reported.

“It’s a real shame that they have to use these tactics to soil someone’s name when she lost her partner, the love of her life, in a tragic accident,” attorney Aaron Neglia said at Thursday’s news conference.

Latest News

AbbVie’s ‘Ability’ Employee Resource Group on How the Company Champions People With Seen and Unseen Disabilities

Originally published at stories.abbvie.com. AbbVie ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   In the sixth of a seven-part Employee Resource Group (ERG) series, we’re shining the spotlight on Ability at AbbVie. This group focuses on advocacy and inclusion, uniting employees with disabilities,…

United States Capitol Building

More Than 300 Black Congressional Staffers Decry Lack of Diversity on Capitol Hill; Challenge Lawmakers To ‘Do Better’

Regardless of which party is in power at any given time, people of color continue to be woefully underrepresented in not just elected office but also within support roles working for those lawmakers. And now, hundreds of these staffers are speaking out about what they call an “appalling” lack of…