Illegal Immigrant Involved in Death of LEO Files Suit Against County and the Late Officer’s Estate

Illegal Immigrant Involved in Death of LEO Files Suit Against County and the Late Officer’s Estate

One crime precipitated all the rest, including the fatal tragedy of which attorneys have made a virtual mockery.

According to The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville, Florida, attorneys for 19-year-old Guatemalan illegal immigrant Virgilio Aguilar Mendez have filed a federal lawsuit against St. Johns County, Florida, and two law-enforcement officials, including the estate of the late Sgt. Michael Kunovich, who passed away in May 2023 following a violent struggle during an attempt to detain Aguilar Mendez.

Strangely, the lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

According to the lawsuit, Aguilar Mendez qualifies as disabled because he does not speak English or Spanish. Instead, he speaks Mam, a Mayan language spoken by indigenous people in parts of western Guatemala and Mexico.

This supposed disability became relevant following Aguilar Mendez’s encounter with Sgt. Kunovich of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 9 p.m. on May 19, 2023, Aguilar Mendez was eating outside a Super 8 Motel. As one would expect, the lawsuit’s summary of his arrest provided Aguilar Mendez’s (and his attorneys’) version of what happened next.

First, Kunovich allegedly had no basis for regarding Aguilar Mendez as a “suspicious person.”

“Sgt. Kunovich’s self-initiated call did not identify any possible crimes that he witnessed,” the summary alleged.

Furthermore, “It was clear to Sgt. Kunovich that Aguilar Mendez had limited English proficiency, and Sgt. Kunovich made no attempts, under SJCSO policy, to communicate with Aguilar Mendez in another language.

“Without provocation or justification, Sgt. Kunovich then physically seized Aguilar Mendez without any reasonable suspicion of any crime, misdemeanor or felony, and illegally searched Aguilar Mendez’s person,” the lawsuit continued.

Then, a second officer arrived and, according to the Times-Union, “body slammed and repeatedly struck” Aguilar Mendez.

“Unable to understand the brutality of the officers, Aguilar Mendez began to cry out for his family,” the lawsuit alleged.

Attorneys no doubt composed their description of supposed “brutality” to achieve maximum sympathy for their client.

The Times-Union also noted, however, that the lawsuit made no mention of officers having to disarm a knife-wielding Aguilar Mendez. Nor did it mention that a Spanish-speaking officer also arrived on scene.

According to a Sheriff’s Office supplemental report, Spanish-speaking Deputy Matheus Alves “stated he was not sure if the suspect understood what he was telling him in Spanish during the struggle but based on conversations with him afterward he knew he understood Spanish.”

Kunovich, 52, collapsed and died shortly after the struggle.

The Times-Union story did not identify Aguilar Mendez’s attorneys. It appears from the progress of this case, however, that at least one attorney who has represented the 19-year-old illegal immigrant wanted very badly to get into federal court.

According to First Coast News in Jacksonville, attorney Phillip Arroyo threatened a federal lawsuit in January. To avert that outcome, he demanded that authorities drop charges against Aguilar Mendez pertaining to Kunovich’s death.

“For the state to prove this beyond every reasonable doubt, they have to establish that Mr. Aguilar knew that Officer Kunovich had a heart condition, which I don’t know how they’re going to prove, unless they’re going to try to argue that our client has X-ray vision,” Arroyo said.

Furthermore, according to Arroyo, the police were the aggressors.

“Mr. Virgilio was a victim of police brutality. He was a victim of racial profiling. He was a victim of violation of his fourth, fifth and sixth amendment constitutional rights. Those who are responsible for this abuse will be held accountable,” Arroyo said, as reported by First Coast News.

In late December, a judge ruled Aguilar Mendez incompetent to stand trial pending further evaluation, according to the Times-Union.

Neither the attorneys nor the published reports indicated whether that ruling played any role in the ADA-based federal lawsuit.

Either way, given the current political climate, one can see why an attorney would want to get a case like this into federal court.

For instance, phrases such as “police brutality” and “racial profiling” are bound to attract attention from the usual social-justice mobs. True or not, those accusations have currency in the woke-BLM universe. A grandstanding attorney could make good use of them.

Furthermore, as the border crisis has shown, federal officials under the Biden administration have actively facilitated an invasion. They have, in essence, rolled out the red carpet for young men like Aguilar Mendez. For that reason alone, an attorney might expect to find federal courts more hospitable to his client.

In the end, nothing will change the fact that Aguilar Mendez broke the law when he entered the United States. Had he entered legally, then all citizens would share a concern for his constitutional rights. But he did not. And now a 52-year-old officer is dead.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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