SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Border Patrol agent who shot a Mexican man to death in the hills above San Diego has been sued by the victim's family.
Border Patrol agent Daniel Basinger shot the man twice in February 2014 in the Otay Mountains. Basinger claimed the man had been throwing rocks at him. The Border Patrol returned Basinger to duty by the end of the month.
The widow of Julian Ramirez Galindo sued the United States and Basinger on July 30 in Federal Court.
Press reports at the time, and the Border Patrol, identified the dead man as Jesus Flores Cruz. The Border Patrol said it identified him from fingerprints from a previous deportation.
The Border Patrol and U.S. newspapers frequently misidentify Mexican citizens because of confusion between the patronymic and matronymic names. Though in this case none of the three names match, it's clear from Border Patrol statements, press reports and the family's lawsuit that they all describe the same border killing.
The shooting led to angry denunciations from both sides. Critics said the Border Patrol has a bad habit of using lethal force against rock throwers. The Border Patrol said rocks can do a lot of damage. It said Basinger had to be treated for injuries and that one of the rocks Flores threw at him was the size of a basketball. The shooting allegedly led to investigations, but no real changes.
Ramirez was one of three men Basinger and other agents tried to arrest in the mountains. They fled and, the Border Patrol said, threw rocks at their pursuers. The family's 15-page lawsuit never mentions rock throwing. They claim that Basinger denied medical attention to Ramirez after he shot him.
"The shooting was not necessary," the family's attorney Scott Hughes said. He said Ramirez was not a felon whose escape would endanger anyone.
The family seeks punitive damages of at least $10 million for assault and battery, unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, denial of medical attention, government liability, negligence and violation of California's Bane Act.
Attorney Hughes's office is in Long Beach.
In Latin America, people go by their "first" last name, the patronymic. The second last name, the mother's maiden name, is used only in formal situations.
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