(DailyVantage.com) – An illegal immigrant accused of causing a St. Johns County, Florida, Sheriff sergeant’s death claims that he’s the victim of racism and had his rights violated by Florida law enforcement. According to authorities, Virgilio Aguilar-Mendez caused Sherrif Sergeant Michael Kunovich’s death after a prolonged struggle between the two. Aguilar-Mendez’s attorney is planning to file a federal lawsuit due to the interaction that caused Kunovich’s death and claiming that Florida authorities violated Aguilar-Mendez’s Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights.
Aguilar-Mendez first encountered the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department when Kunovich approached him while he sat outside of a closed business. Kunovich attempted to lawfully search Aguilar-Mendez, prompting the illegal immigrant to run away from Kunovich. Kunovich then called for other officers, but Aguilar-Mendez still resisted the officers on the scene. Kunovich eventually tackled Aguilar-Mendez to the ground, and the two struggled for over six minutes.
After the initial struggle, authorities handcuffed Aguilar-Mendez, which caused the illegal immigrant to quickly pull out a hidden pocketknife, which authorities took from him. Shortly after police disarmed Aguilar-Mendez, Kunovich abruptly collapsed to the ground for an unknown reason, causing emergency personnel to attempt life-saving maneuvers on the sergeant. Upon his arrival at a local hospital, medical staff announced Kunovich dead.
Prosecutors charged Aguilar-Mendez with resisting arrest and manslaughter due to the circumstances culminating with Kunovich’s death, charges which Aguilar-Mendez’s attorney, Phillip Arroyo, claims aren’t valid. According to Arroyo, police racially profiled Aguilar-Mendez and subjected him to police brutality during his encounter with Kunovich. Arroyo threatened the St. John County Sherrif’s Office with a federal lawsuit if they didn’t drop the charges against Aguilar-Mendez.
According to reports, Aguilar-Mendez is an illegal alien who crossed into the United States from Guatemala. Border officials detained Aguilar-Mendez upon his arrival in the United States but released him shortly thereafter. After entering the United States, Arroyo claims that Aguilar-Mendez found work on a farm. Arroyo also claims that Aguilar-Mendez regularly sends his wages back to his family in Guatemala.
Aguilar-Mendez’s case is gaining national attention, and some citizens even started a petition supporting his legal battle against the St. John’s County Sheriff’s office. Despite Arroyo’s threatening a federal lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, Aguilar-Mendez will likely stand trial for Kunovich’s death. Among the most substantial evidence against Aguilar-Mendez is the report from a medical examiner, who reported that Kunovich died from an irregular heartbeat, likely resulting from the altercation.
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