A Brooklyn community is in turmoil after an ICE agent shot a young Latino man in the face during a raid.

By Lena Hansen
February 11, 2020

An ICE agent shot 26-year-old Erick Díaz Cruz in the face during an immigration raid in Brooklyn, New York, last Thursday, sending him to a local hospital with serious injuries. According to reports, the young man intervened when ICE was arresting his stepdad, Gaspar Avendaño Hernández, to deport him to Mexico. The victim’s mother, Carmen Cruz, and an outraged community are demanding justice.

New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie spoke to Newsweek about the incident. “We have become so normalized to these sorts of raids and these sorts of actions that … this hasn’t raised eyebrows and I think that is a real tragedy … that we’re used to this,” Myrie said. The senator joined protesters on Saturday, calling for action so lawmakers prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. “We cannot, as a society, be OK with what happened this week,” Myrie said in a speech. “We cannot normalize what happened this week. Someone was shot in the face by the government.”

The Washington Post reports that ICE agents showed up at the home that Hernández shared with his longtime girlfriend, Cruz, and when he resisted arrest, Cruz’s son Erick intervened. After a brief altercation, an ICE agent shot the young man in the face. Kevin Yañez Cruz, 19, Eric’s younger brother, who was also at the house, told WABC that the agents were not in uniform and did not show any badges or warrants when attempting the arrest.

“He resisted because they didn’t show him no papers, like, ‘Oh I’m the police,’ no badge, no nothing, no warrant, no nothing,” Kevin said. “They just tackled him, and that’s why he reacted the way he reacted. He didn’t say, ‘Get down,’ he didn’t say nothing. And he didn’t have nothing, my brother, he didn’t have no weapons in his hands, nothing. The minute they’re tackling him, they get up to the [doorstep], I’m here, my brother is here, he thought I was going to get involved, and he pointed the gun at my brother and didn’t even hesitate and pulled the trigger.”

According to reports, Hernández was tased, and both he and Eric were transported to a hospital. Rachael Yong Yow, a spokeswoman for ICE, told the Wall Street Journal that two ICE agents were injured and that they are investigating the incident.

The shooting comes in the midst of President Donald Trump’s ongoing battle with sanctuary cities and states. The Trump administration filed a suit Monday against California and New Jersey over laws that allegedly hinder the enforcement of strict immigration policies. Last week, the administration also announced that New Yorkers are now barred from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler programs. The policy was a reaction to the state passing the Green Light Law, which allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

“This is unbounded arrogance, disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-political government, and this is another form of extortion,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in response to the ban, per the New York Times. “This is what Trump did with Ukraine. This is the ethos of his federal government.” State Attorney General Letitia James also promised to “vigorously defend” the Green Light Law. “Despite President Trump’s attempt to punish New Yorkers for passing its own laws and standing up to his xenophobic policies, New York will not back down,” she said.