Miami cops fleeced immigrant’s family for $2,400 before jailing him: lawsuit
An impending lawsuit accuses two Miami police officers of extorting $2,400 from an undocumented immigrant’s mother before setting him up for possible deportation, El Nuevo Herald reported.
According to the lawsuit, the officers pulled 33-year-old Moisés David Escoto Rojas over and detained him for not having a driver’s license. But instead of incarcerating him immediately, the officers instead kept him in their patrol car for hours.
One of the officers allegedly went to Escoto’s home in plain clothes, with a badge hanging from her neck, and demanded that his mother produce the $2,400 in exchange for his release. Escoto’s mother was able to come up with the money by asking friends and family.
“The officers received the money, then they took my client to jail,” Escoto’s attorney, John de Leon, told Buzzfeed.
The suit also states that one of the officers arranged for an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent to be present when Escoto appeared in court on Aug. 27 to contest traffic tickets connected to his arrest. Escoto was taken to a federal detention facility and could be deported.
de Leon said his client should be eligible for a U Visa, which makes immigrants eligible for temporary residency and work eligibility in the U.S. if they are the victims of extortion, among many crimes.
“The federal government has the obligation of applying legal protections to this case,” de Leon told El Nuevo Herald. “I want to be clear: this is a war against immigrants in this country. It is part of a culture that allows people who are arrested without a driver’s license to be exploited by police.”
Buzzfeed reported that de Leon is also considering filing a federal civil rights lawsuit over the issue. Miami police have not commented, citing an internal affairs investigation into Escoto’s arrest.