‘Why Did You Shoot Me?’

     McALLEN, Texas (CN) – After a Texas district attorney’s investigator shot an unarmed, kneeling man at point-blank range during a “botched” DEA raid, his cronies in law enforcement destroyed evidence to “help out a buddy,” the wounded man claims in court.
     Cesar Alejandro Castillo sued Willacy County, its District Attorney Bernard Ammerman and D.A.’s investigator John Cisneros in Federal Court.
     Sparsely settled Willacy County is north of Brownsville. Its seat is Raymondville.
     “This matter began a little after 2:00 PM on May 23, 2011 when the shooter John Cisneros, an investigator with the Willacy County District Attorney’s Office, was conducting surveillance on a residence in Brownsville, Texas, while outside his jurisdiction by over 52 miles. There was no warrant, nor hot pursuit of any suspects which justified Cisneros’s work outside of his jurisdiction,” the complaint states.
     “Ten minutes later, DEA Special Agent William Wassen was conducting a surveillance operation on a different residence in Brownsville, Texas. After two additional males arrived at the residence, William Wassen decided to conduct a raid on the residence, without an operations plan, and without briefing the agents conducting the raid.
     “William Wassen decided to pick up shooter John Cisneros to assist in the raid, knowing that Cisneros had no training to conduct the raid, no training in arrests, and knowing that Cisneros had no identifying clothing or marking indicating ‘Police,’ ‘DEA,’ or ‘Federal Agent.’
     “Furthermore William Wassen did not bother to ask if Cisneros spoke Spanish (which Cisneros did not), or that Cisneros had been unemployed for over a year, or that Cisneros was fired from his previous law enforcement job of a park ranger in San Antonio.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Wassen is not a defendant in the lawsuit.
     “As the raid was conducted on the house, William Wassen led the main force into the house to arrest the suspects. Williams Wassen allowed John Cisneros to proceed unsupervised around the residence to look for some suspects, where it was assumed that some suspects were attempting to flee,” the complaint states.
     “As John Cisneros approached the victim Cesar Castillo, John Cisneros ordered Cesar Castillo to his knees, Cisneros then proceeded to unholster his semi-automatic pistol and shoot Cesar Castillo.
     “Mr. Castillo was unarmed and posed no threat to John Cisneros. John Cisneros was not wearing any type of identifying clothing or marks on his clothing indicating he was a law enforcement officer. Cisneros was dressed in plain clothes.
     “Immediately after being shot, Cesar Castillo hit the ground and asked John Cisneros, ‘Porque me tiraste?’ (Why did you shoot me?). John Cisneros’s hands began to tremble as he holstered his pistol. Rather than administer medical aid, Cisneros walked away from the crime scene with his hands to head. Cisneros began to mutter uncontrollably as the other law enforcement officers arrived and escorted Cisneros to a nearby bench.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Castillo says he asked for help and the officers cursed him.
     “One of the officers told Mr. Castillo, ‘Shut up, pinche mojado,’ (You fucking wetback.) After Mr. Castillo bled profusely for several minutes, he again asked for medical help and was told ‘Shut the fuck up’ and ‘Shut your fucking mouth’ by the agents,” the complaint states.
     “Finally, after seven minutes, one of the agents rendered aid and applied a gauze pad to Castillo’s wound.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Wassen asked Cisneros about the shooting and Cisneros said “it was ‘A warning shot,'” Castillo says.
     The complaint adds: “Cisneros began to contradict himself saying it was ‘one shot,’ then ‘two shots,’ then ‘one shot.’ Knowing that Cisneros shot an unarmed suspect, in a botched raid, Wassen took control of the scene.
     “During the initial processing of the scene by Wassen, the expended shell casings were thrown away. Furthermore, there were no pictures taken of the shooting scene, the victim Mr. Castillo, or the shooter John Cisneros. As such, there were no photographs of the shooting given to the United States Attorney’s Office.”
     About an hour after the shooting Wassen called the FBI to investigate, Castillo says.
     “The FBI was asked to conduct a cursory, amateurish, and incomplete investigation in order to ‘help out a buddy’ and assist Mr. Wassen in furtherance of his cover-up, tampering with physical evidence and obstruction of justice,” Castillo says.
     He seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, excessive force, negligent training and supervision and negligence.
     He is represented by Omar Rosales of Harlingen.

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