Family of man killed by Southaven Police says city claims he had no civil, constitutional rights

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Attorneys for the widow of the man shot dead by Southaven Police in 2017 when they mistakenly went to the wrong house are slamming the city.

In recent court filings, Southaven claimed Ismael Lopez has no civil or constitutional rights because he was not a legal United States citizen.

"There are no words," Claudia Linares, Lopez's widow, said through a translator. "One expects justice, as a person, as a human. That's what I've always wanted is justice."

Earlier this year, Lopez's family sued the City of Southaven, the police chief at the time and two officers involved in his death. The family is seeking millions of dollars.

In 2017, officers mistakenly went to the wrong home while serving a warrant, and they ended up at Lopez's house, shot through a door and killed Lopez.

The officers claimed they saw a rifle barrel pointed through the door, and a dog charged them, but attorneys claim there wasn't a gun.

Lopez was an undocumented immigrant.

In recent court filings, attorneys for the City of Southaven said Lopez had no Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment civil rights, as his family's attorney's allege, because he was not a legal citizen.

"This isn't just an undocumented issue, this is a constitutional, foundational issue," the family's attorney Murray Wells said. "You have no right to constitutional protections meaning that storm troopers could come into your house and kill you without regard to any constitutional results or repercussions."

He said the city's argument is in direct conflict with Constitution. He believes the city is ignoring due process.

Attorneys said they've reached out to the Department of Justice and the Governor's office about what is going on.

They also believe the court should sanction Southaven for making these kind of arguments regarding constitutional rights. They said the city is trying to soil Lopez's widow's name by claiming the couple wasn't actually married and claim that is not true.

The City of Southaven said in the below statement from Mayor Darren Musselwhite that the matter will be decided in a court of law, not through press conferences, and the city stands behind its officers.

“As I’ve stated before, the City of Southaven will defend this matter in the court of law, not in the media via press conferences with ridiculously-misleading sound bites. A federal judge will consider actual prior federal case law presented by the City’s attorney in this case. Our officers were not indicted by a Desoto Grand Jury and cleared by the FBI and Department of Justice and the City will continue to vigorously defend them and itself in this civil matter anxiously awaiting all facts being exposed."
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