Attorney for family of Southaven man killed by police calls out department for ‘lack of transparency’

Photo: WREG

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — An attorney for the family of a man shot and killed last month by police is opening up about a new request for a federal investigation into his death.

“The family’s still in shock,” said Lopez family attorney Aaron Neglia. “From day one, the only thing they wanted to do was clear their father’s and husband’s name.”

Ismael Lopez, 41, was killed when officers mistakenly went to his house on a domestic violence call. Police even shot his dog.

But the suspect they were looking for actually lived across the street.

The story made national headlines and sparked protests.

“We have to stop that and see if we can bring light to the matter of corrupt police departments,” said Pastor Rolando Rostro at a July 27 protest in front of the Southaven Police Department.

Family attorneys Friday wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, requesting a federal investigation into the case and pointing out what they call a lack of transparency by the Southaven Police Department.

“They didn’t release the information on the police officers who were involved, they haven’t released any relevant information as to how this could have happened, most importantly they haven’t offered any condolences or apologies for killing an innocent man,” Neglia said.

Attorneys also argue that both Lopez’s wife and a neighbor say police never announced themselves when they knocked on his door that night, something Neglia said police are required by law to do before taking any action.

“All he heard was pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, and then pop, pop, pop of the gunshot,” he said.

Investigators insist Lopez cracked the door and pointed a gun at them, although attorneys said evidence photos from the scene prove he was shot through a closed door.

“Mr. Lopez was about six to eight feet away from the door when he was shot in the back of the head,” Neglia said.

Since the shooting, he said he’s heard from people across the city with similar complaints about Southaven PD.

“We’ve been flooded with phone calls of police brutality, police shootings, family members that were murdered by Southaven Police,” he said.

In the end, Neglia said Lopez’s family just wants the truth to come out.

“Ms. Lopez wants the world to know that her husband was a good man, did the right thing, the neighbors loved him, the family loved him and that he wasn’t a criminal,” he said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now handling the case.

Neglia said it could be weeks before Lopez’s autopsy is complete.