A 26-year-old man who was shot in the face earlier this month by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer has filed a lawsuit against the officer, his attorneys announced Wednesday.
The incident on Feb. 6 left Erick Diaz Cruz with multiple fractured bones and he is unable to move his left hand and arm, according to his attorneys. He also has a vision loss in his left eye that may be permanent, and the family says they want the officers and ICE to be held accountable for the "senseless and unjustified shooting."
Diaz Cruz had just arrived from Mexico with his girlfriend on a visitor visa to spend time with his mother and brother who live in Gravesend, Brooklyn, when ICE agents attempted to take his mother's boyfriend, Gasper Avendano-Hernandez, into custody.
That's when the family says one of the two plainclothes officers pulled out a gun and fired at Diaz Cruz's face.
“This is not just an attack against me, but also an attack against the entire Latino community in the United States,” Diaz Cruz said in a statement. “This is the right time for our community to come together to protest against and protect ourselves from ICE’s violence.”
Details of the shooting were being investigated by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and it was unclear how Diaz became involved.
One witness told NBC New York that "the whole family came out fighting against police officers when they should have been listening."
Diaz Cruz was in the country legally but ICE says Avedano-Hernandez is undocumented and he had been removed from the U.S. twice to Mexico since 2011.
“Along with millions of New Yorkers, we are heartbroken and sickened by ICE’s senseless and unjustified shooting of Erick,” Diaz Cruz's lawyer Katie Rosenfeld.