Family of man killed by Southaven police in mistaken identity case fighting for answers

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Three years have gone by, and the family of Ismael Lopez is still waiting for justice.

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, Southaven claimed Lopez had no civil or constitutional rights because he was not a legal United States 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.”

“If you don’t have papers, you can be shot,” attorney Michael Carr said. “Let me say that again, if you don’t have papers, you can be shot and killed, and law enforcement will get immunity for that. That’s the argument for the City of Southaven. Can you imagine that? Can you say that with a straight face?”

Wells 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.

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite responded to the lawyers’ news conference Monday.

“I look forward to seeing this case tried in a court of law instead of the media circus these attorneys have created,” he said.

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