A Mexican national claims in a lawsuit that federal authorities held him for five months in solitary confinement after he was arrested last year on a traffic violation.
Fernando Figueroa-Barajas said police arrested him Sept. 5 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for driving without a valid license and turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, reported Courthouse News.
ICE agents took him to a detention center in Gulfport, Mississippi, shackled at the wrists, ankles, and waist, according to the suit, and accused him of a prior deportation.
The suit claims agents demanded Figueroa sign a deportation document and slammed his head into a table several times when he refused.
Figueroa was then placed bleeding profusely from the face on the floor and kicked repeatedly by the same unidentified ICE agent, the suit claims.
He was then placed in a holding cell and told another agent that he’d been beaten, but the suit claims the he was ignored after the first agent denied the assault.
Figueroa said he vomited and convulsed before paramedics rushed him to a hospital, where the suit claims three ICE agents prevented him from explaining his injuries to medical personnel.
The agents tore up Figueroa’s hospital discharge forms, the suit claims.
“This is how you can get us fired,” one of them said, according to the lawsuit.
One of the agents told the nursing staff at St. Tammany Parish Jail that Figueroa was suicidal, the suit claims, and he was stripped naked and placed in an isolation cell.
He remained in isolation for more than five months, the suit claims.
Figueroa seeks punitive damages for excessive force, failure to intervene, denial of medical treatment, due process violations, and a First Amendment violation after he asked to speak to a lawyer and refused to sign documents.
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