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Illegal Aliens will get $100,000 in suit against county

April-11-07

 

Two illegal aliens have agreed to a $100,000 out-of-court settlement after threatening a multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit against a Texas deputy over an incident in which the lawman shot at an alien-smuggling vehicle he said tried to run him down.

 

Edwards County Deputy Guillermo F. Hernandez was on patrol April 2005 about midnight when he came across a truck that had run a red light in the small quiet town of Rocksprings, Texas. After he pulled the vehicle over, he noticed numerous people lying on the floor of the truck when he approached on foot. The vehicle sped off only to turn around and drive towards the lone deputy.

 

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According to a brief supplied by the Washington Legal Foundation in the criminal case against Hernandez, "The driver of the vehicle attempted to run into him as it sped away with potentially dangerous occupants and cargo. In a split-second decision, he [Hernandez] shot at the left rear tire to disable the vehicle…the resulting minor injury to one of the occupants from a bullet fragment was not a serious one and certainly not an injury that was willfully inflicted."

 

Two of the Mexican nationals who were being smuggled into the U.S, Maricela Rodriguez-Garcia and Candido Garcia-Perez said they were injured by fragments of the lawman's bullets.  After a mediation hearing in Austin, Texas they agreed to settle the case out of court for $100,000. They illegal aliens had asked for $1.5 million.

 

The smuggled aliens told investigators they paid $2,000 each to be taken across the Rio Grande from Acuna, Mexico. They said they later met the vehicle's driver and a guide, who were to take them to Austin and Dallas.

 

Former deputy Hernandez, 25, was sentenced March 19 by U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson in federal court in Del Rio, Texas, to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $5,347 in damages to Mrs. Rodriguez-Garcia. The judge also ordered three years of supervised probation and an additional $5,000 fine.

 

Edwards County Sheriff Donald G. Letsinger, who also was targeted in the pending lawsuit, said his deputy was cleared in an initial investigation by the Texas Rangers, which found that Hernandez "followed the letter of the law" in defending himself. He said charges were brought only after the matter was turned over to the FBI and to U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, who last year also won convictions against two U.S. Border Patrol agents who shot a drug-smuggling suspect as he fled back into Mexico.

 

"This is very bothersome to me," Sheriff Letsinger told The Washington Times. "Whether it's a U.S. citizen or a Mexican national, I just don't think the taxpayers should have to pay someone who broke the law and, in this case, someone who committed a crime by illegally trying to enter the United States.

 

"It's not any different than paying off a bank robber who happens to get shot on his way out of the bank," he said. "In this case, the two conspired to break the law and when they got caught tried to run down my deputy."

 

The $100,000 settlement figure was recommended by the West Texas Rural Counties Association, an insurance pool that will pay the amount. Sheriff Letsinger said attorneys for the association concluded it would have cost at least that much to respond to a lawsuit in court.

 

The settlement agreement also included a promise from the two Mexican nationals that they would not pursue any further litigation against the deputy, the sheriff or Edwards County.

 

According to U.S. Congressman Ted Poe, the Federal Government gave Rodriguez-Garcia and Garcia-Perez green cards and allowed them to stay in the United States after the incident.

 

Hernandez made $21,000 a year as one of three deputies patrolling a county the size of Delaware.

 

“Everyone in his hometown of Rocksprings, Texas has sided with Deputy Hernandez. They are taking care of his family,” Poe said.

"But once again, our Federal Government has taken the other side, the wrong side of the border war. Our government is more concerned about illegals in the van than they are about the safety of Deputy Hernandez".

For more on this please read:

Former Deputy Sheriff  Sentenced

On Patrol In Edwards County Texas

 

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