(No. 3-11-0994, Judge Campbell, US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division)
ACLU Attorneys: Thomas H. Castelli, ACLU-TN; Andre Segura, Lee Gelernt and Cecila D. Wang, ACLU Foundation Immigrants’ Rights Project.
ACLU-TN Cooperating Attorneys: Tricia Herzfeld and Elliott Ozment, Ozment Law
Additional Attorneys: Matthew J. Piers, Jose J. Behar, Jenna L. Miara and Caryn Lederer, Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym, Ltd.
Plaintiffs: Angel Enrique Nunez Escobar, Jesus Antonio Sanchez Villalobos, Jorge Palencia Sarmiento, Jose Arsenio Quintanilla Gomez, Javier Orlando Deras, Juan Bautista Mendez Martinez, Gerardo Morteo Mendez, Isias Raxcaco Cajbon, Eduardo Cahuec Garcia, Marvin Benjamin Lopez Raxico, Cosmer Juarez Cajbon, Carlos Roberto Mendez Martinez, David Salgado Figueroa, Kimberly Custis and Shannon Noriega Lucas (as parent and next friend of her child, B.B., a minor)
Defendants: Lee Gaines, Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Nashville Fugitive Operations Team (NVLFOT); Christopher Koshar, ICE Nashville Homeland Security Investigations (NVLHSI) Group Supervisor; ICE NVLFOT Deportation Officers Lee C. Worsham, Bradley Epley, Eric H. Lim and Brian Abrahamson; ICE NVLHSI Senior Special Agents Patrick Ryan Hubbard, Jonathon Andrew Hendrix and Stephen F. McCormick; ICE NSVHSI Special Agents Wayne Dickey and Christopher Lane, Daniel Hastings, ICE Immigration Enforcement Agent, Jane Doe ICE Agents 1-2, John Doe ICE Agents 1-13; Gary Kemper, Sergeant, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Gang Unit; Shaun Hardin, Detective, MNPD Gang Unit; Jane Roe MNPD Officers 1-5; John Roe MNPD Officers 1-5; Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC; Tritex Real Estate Advisors; Tracy Hall, Crime Suppression Services; and Paul West.
On the night of October 20, 2010 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department agents in full SWAT gear descended upon an apartment complex at night that was home to mostly Latino residents. The agents broke into the home of Jorge Sarmiento and Angel Escobar without a search warrant or consent, knocking in the front door and shattering a window, shouting racial slurs and storming into the bedrooms, holding guns to some people’s heads. When asked if they had a warrant, one agent reportedly said, “We don’t need a warrant, we’re ICE,” and, gesturing to his genitals, “the warrant is coming out of my balls.”
Residents were detained without any reasonable suspicion or probably cause to believe they had engaged in any criminal activity, and no one was ever charged with a criminal violation as a result of the raid.
In October 2011, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and ACLU-TN filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of fifteen residents of the apartment complex who were subjected to this warrantless raid by ICE agents and Metro Nashville police officers. Among the plaintiffs are U.S. citizens, including a child detained and interrogated while playing soccer on the playground simply because of the color of his skin.
Plaintiffs sued ICE and MNPD for, among other things, conspiracy to violate their rights to be free from unlawful searches and seizures, and discriminatory conduct.
The Fourth Amendment strictly prohibits warrantless intrusions into private homes and the Constitution’s protections apply to both citizens and non-citizens alike.
On July 27, 2015 the ACLU announced a settlement in the case. ICE and Metro Nashville police agreed to pay $310,000 to settle all claims, and ICE granted the noncitizen plaintiffs deferred action status for seven years.
You Should Not Have a Gun Pointed at Your Head (July 27, 2015)
“We Don’t Need a Warrant, We’re ICE” (October 21, 2011)
Private Defendant Statement (July 27, 2015)
Angel Enrique Nunez Escobar, et al. v. Lee Gaines, et al. – Complaint (October 19, 2011)