While searching for a domestic violence suspect in the summer of 2017, police in Southaven, Mississippi, visited the wrong home and shot dead an innocent man. But according to the city, 41-year-old Ismael Lopez wasn’t protected by the U.S. Constitution at the time of his slaying because he was an undocumented immigrant.
Speaking to reporters last week, Murray Wells, an attorney representing Lopez’s family, lambasted the city’s argument as both “chilling” and “insane,” The Washington Post reported.
“In an address to a federal judge in an open pleading in court, the city of Southaven has announced that it is their policy that if you are an undocumented resident of that city, you have no constitutional protections,” Wells said at a Thursday press conference, per CNN. “Meaning that storm troopers can come into your house and kill you without regard to any constitutional results or repercussions whatsoever.”
Lopez, a native of Mexico who ran a small auto mechanic’s shop in Southaven, was killed on the night of July 24, 2017, after police showed up at his home, the Commercial Appeal reported. The officers had been looking for Lopez’s neighbor, a man accused of aggravated domestic violence, but ended up knocking on the wrong door.
Police allege Lopez appeared at the front door with a handgun — a claim refuted by Lopez’s wife, who was home at the time. Wells said Lopez, who was not wanted for any crime at the time of his death, was killed by a single bullet to the back of the head.