The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the law firm Kirkland and Ellis, filed a legal claim against the federal government in the case of Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, exactly a year after her death.
On May 23, 2018, the 20-year-old and a group of migrants crossed the border into Rio Bravo. In a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they say a border patrol agent was attacked with blunt objects, therefore he fired his weapon.
However, in a second statement, that was retracted. The legal claim states Claudia Patricia took one step forward and was shot by the agent. Adding it took her at least several minutes to die as she gasped for air.
A year after her death, the border patrol agent has not been named.
“This is a case that is very important because it’s one of other several other cases of migrant deaths at the border in the hands of the federal government and our duty is hold the government accountable for this incident.”
The agent’s attorney declined to comment pending the ongoing investigation but did state his client maintains his innocence. They look forward to their day in court to reveal what happened the day of the incident.
For now, ACLU is asking for 100 million dollars in damages. The attorney with ACLU says Claudia’s family is happy this legal claim is moving forward.
“He’s extremely sad. This was the one year anniversary of his daughter’s death. Even when I spoke to him on the phone, he was very emotional. The family lost their firstborn daughter and no amount of money can bring her back. At this point they want justice.”
ACLU says the federal government has six months to reply to the legal claim filed. If they don’t, they will pursue other claims in federal court.