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‘Chilling’: Mississippi city claims undocumented man killed by police had no constitutional rights

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“We’re stunned that someone put this in writing,” a lawyer for Ismael Lopez’s family said.

A court filing publicized late last week drew outrage on Monday over the case of Ismael Lopez, a 41-year-old man who was killed by police two years ago in Southaven, Mississippi.

To avoid responsibility for the man’s death, attorneys for the city are arguing that Lopez had no constitutional rights due to his status as an undocumented immigrant—blatantly contradicting U.S. law and numerous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was among the immigrant rights defenders who drew attention to the case on social media.

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Lopez was shot in the back of the head when the police came to his home, where he’d lived for 16 years, in July 2017. His widow, Claudia Linares, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Southaven this past summer, a year after a grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved in his death.

Southaven officials argued in a court filing revealed late last week that Lopez did not have Fourth Amendment or 14th Amendment rights—leaving him without protection from unreasonable search and seizures or equal protection under law.

“If [Lopez] ever had Fourth Amendment or 14th Amendment civil rights, they were lost by his own conduct and misconduct,” reads the court filing. “Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.”

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Murray Wells, Lopez’s family’s attorney, called the city’s claim “chilling,” “insane,” and “ludicrous” in a press conference on Thursday.

“They were residents that the city should be protecting and now that city is directly attacking their very own residents,” Wells said. “For 16 years they were happy to take tax money. Happy to let these people spend their money at the store, happy to let them participate. But when [the police] make a mistake now these residents don’t have any legal recourse. It is chilling.”

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The brief describes Lopez as “a convicted felon” and “fugitive from justice,” despite the fact that police had no outstanding warrants for Lopez’s arrest at the time of his death. He had not been arrested since the 1990s, when he was living in Washington State. On social media, critics on Monday expressed shock at the city’s attacks on Lopez and its claim that he was not protected by the Constitution.

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The city’s claim that Lopez was not entitled to constitutional rights contradicts the 2001 Supreme Court decision Zadvydas v. Davis, in which the high court affirmed that the 14th Amendment applies to all immigrants, including those who are undocumented.

The Supreme Court also ruled in 1973 that all constitutional laws pertaining to the treatment of crime suspects, including the Fourth Amendment, apply to undocumented immigrants.

Both decisions echoed the words of James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, who wrote that immigrants are entitled “to their [constitutional] protection and advantage.”

“We’re stunned that someone put this in writing,” Wells said of the city’s argument, adding that for undocumented immigrants, according to Southaven officials, “storm troopers can come into your house and kill you without regard to any constitutional results or repercussions whatsoever.”

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Wells asked the judge overseeing the case to sanction Southaven officials for arguments he said weren’t made in good faith.

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Ex-GOPer Amash under consideration by Democrats as Trump impeachment leader: report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, a low-key campaign is being waged by some Democrats in the House to make former GOP lawmaker Justin Amash (L-MI) one of the leads in the impeachment of Donald Trump.

The report states, "A group of 30 freshman Democrats, led by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), has asked House leaders to consider the libertarian, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, for the small group tasked with arguing its case for removing Trump in the upper chamber, according to several Democratic officials."

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Jim Jordan’s lies about the Steele report completely demolished by Fusion GPS founders

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy" the founders of Fusion GPS,  which was behind the Steele report which led to an investigation into Donald Trump's relationship with Russia, slapped down claims made by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) made during the House Judiciary Committee hearings this past week.

Host Joy Reid began by sharing a clip of the Ohio Republican's rant during the Trump impeachment hearings, where he claimed, "The guy who write the dossier was, quote, 'desperate to stop Trump.' The dossier they are using to get a warrant to further spy on the Trump campaign didn't tell the court the guy who wrote the dossier was working for the Clinton campaign."

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