Teresa Romero sued three FBI agents whose names she knows and other John Doe agents on behalf of her grandchildren, on Tuesday in Federal Court.
Ten-year-old A.R. Jr. was wounded by shrapnel in the head and shoulder; his 12-year-old sister also was hurt by shrapnel and their 9-year-old brother was terrified by the predawn raid on April 29, 2013, their grandmother says.
The FBI agents were serving a warrant on her son, Abel Romero Sr., who has “an extensive arrest record,” Romero says in the lawsuit. She says the FBI knew there were children in the home.
The FBI suspected the children’s father of being “a street drug dealer,” and used an informant to buy “small amounts of drugs” from him, Romero says. They also had the snitch “solicit Mr. Romero to obtain and sell him guns.”
The grandma says defendant FBI Agents Brian Acee, Gregory Watterson and David Kice had no reason to believe her son would be violent or resist arrest.
“Defendants also knew that Mr. Romero often left the house by himself and could easily be arrested away from the house so that the search warrant could then be executed without any potential harm to the children or other residents. Defendants also knew that Mr. Romero, who had an extensive arrest record, had no record of using firearms and had no record of physically resisting police officers,” the complaint states.
Romero claims the agents made the children wait for 30 minutes outside, even though the 10-year-old was bleeding profusely, and his clothes were covered with blood.
She also accuses the agents of hiding or destroying evidence: “Defendant Kice or another agent took the blood soaked shirt, a pajama top, and it was never seen again by any member of plaintiff’s family,” the complaint states. “Additionally, when defendant Kice wrote his report regarding the incident, he omitted the fact that there were three young, children at the residence at the time the flash bang grenades were thrown, describing them as merely as ‘siblings.’ Moreover, rather than disclose the fact that a young child had been injured by the grenade attack, defendant described plaintiff A.R. Jr. as ‘a juvenile male,’ a term that would have applied to a 17-year-old.”
The Romeros seek punitive damages for constitutional violations and personal injuries.
They are represented by Richard Rosenstock of Santa Fe, who could not be reached by phone after business hours Wednesday.
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