News18» News»Politics»Family Challenging Immunity Ruling In Kidnapped Man's Death
3-MIN READ

Family Challenging Immunity Ruling In Kidnapped Man's Death

The court sought the law ministry’s response after going through a statement by the World Health Organisation, which has declared virginity testing as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable.

The court sought the law ministry’s response after going through a statement by the World Health Organisation, which has declared virginity testing as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable.

A recent appeals court ruling that provided immunity for an FBI agent who fatally shot a kidnapped Houston area man during a botched rescue attempt is being legally challenged, the mans family and attorney said Tuesday.

HOUSTON: A recent appeals court ruling that provided immunity for an FBI agent who fatally shot a kidnapped Houston area man during a botched rescue attempt is being legally challenged, the mans family and attorney said Tuesday.

In March, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a federal judges ruling that had denied the unidentified agents claim he could not be sued due to qualified immunity, which offers police officers and other officials protection from civil lawsuits seeking money.

The family of 47-year-old Ulises Valladares had sued the FBI agent, alleging their loved one had been helpless as he was bound and blindfolded when the agent shot him shot in January 2018 as authorities entered a home where the man was being held. The FBI agent has told investigators he only fired when he thought a kidnapper had grabbed his rifle after the agent broke a window to get inside and didnt know he was shooting Valladares.

We have officers shooting and killing bound, blindfolded, unarmed people by themselves and they get qualified immunity? Thats not right, Randall Kallinen said at a news conference Tuesday.

Former Houston police Chief Art Acevedo had said the agents explanation for why he shot the hostage is not supported by evidence reviewed by police investigators.

In June 2020, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ruled the agents request to dismiss the lawsuit against him based on qualified immunity is wholly without merit … No life was being protected by (the agents) conduct. On the contrary, (the agent) took a life without provocation. This was an illegal act.

But a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit ruled the only plausible reading of the allegations is that (the agent) accidentally shot Ulises while trying to help him by ending the hostage situation.

Joel Androphy, the FBI agents attorney, said Tuesday he was checking with federal officials to see if he could comment. In court filings, Androphy has argued the agent did not act in an unreasonable manner because he believed a hostages life was in danger.

Kallinen said he has asked all 16 judges on the appeals court to hear the case. If that request is rejected, Kallinen said he planned to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court as part of efforts to challenge qualified immunity for officers.

Were very hopeful. We try to stay positive about it, that the right thing will be done, said Brooke Pearce, who is the half-sister and guardian to Valladares 15-year-old son.

If the 5th Circuits ruling is upheld, the FBI agent would be dismissed from the lawsuit. The federal government would remain a defendant.

In September 2019, federal authorities announced they would not charge the FBI agent.

The Harris County District Attorneys Offices civils right division is still reviewing the case to determine if any state charges would be filed against the agent.

Four people were charged in state court in connection with Valladares kidnapping and two of them have since been convicted.

Changes to qualified immunity is one of the criminal justice reforms thats been debated across the country in the wake of last years protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd.

Congress is debating the fate of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which includes various reforms such as banning the use of chokeholds and limiting qualified immunity protections. Various states have considered or passed legislation to limit the use of qualified immunity, including New Mexico last month.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here

first published:May 05, 2021, 03:00 IST