Judge rules Ismael Lopez was protected under U.S. Constitution, denies dismissal of case


SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A U.S. District Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss the case against the city of Southaven and several officers in connection to the shooting death of Ismael Lopez.

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.

The officers were never indicted.

“We’re seeking justice for Ismael Lopez. Trying to hold the City of Southaven accountable and the officers accountable for killing an innocent man,” said Aaron Neglia, one of the attorneys for the Lopez family.

In recent court filings, Southaven claimed Lopez had no civil or constitutional rights because he was an undocumented immigrant. They also claimed among other things that he and his widow Claudia Linares were not married.

According to Judge Neal Biggers, Jr. Linares provided a marriage certificate out of Crittenden County, Arkansas.

As to the defendants’ arguments that Lopez was not protected by the Constition, Biggers wrote that it has been “well settled that constitutional protections extend to non-citizens, documented or otherwise.”

Neglia says not only are they seeking justice but policy and procedural changes within the Southaven Police Department.

“We’d love for the Southaven mayor and the new chief of police to step up and say ‘hey we did wrong and we’re going to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and we’re going to make sure that we don’t kill an innocent man’,” Neglia said.

Neglia says the City of Southaven, the chief of police and the officers involved have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

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