Two New York members of Congress expressed “serious concerns” after a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer shot a man in Brooklyn Thursday during a botched deportation attempt.
Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velázquez addressed their qualms in a letter to ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence, requesting to be briefed on the incident and seeking confirmation that the shooting victim and deportee have access to counsel.
“We are very concerned by the initial use of force by the ICE agent in the first place,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote in the joint-letter, “especially as initial reporting suggests both Mr. [Gaspar] Avendano-Hernandez and Mr. [Erick] Diaz were unarmed.”
“This unfortunate incident further erodes trust in the agency’s mission and its responsibilities,” their letter said.
Avendano-Hernandez was being served a deportation order by officers from ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations team in Gravesend, Brooklyn when Diaz, 26, “physically attacked” the arresting officers, an ICE spokeswoman and law enforcement sources have said.
Amid the scrap, an officer’s service weapon went off, sending a bullet through Diaz’s hand that then ricocheted into his face, according to sources and Diaz’s brother, Kevin Yanez Cruz.
An ICE source told The Post that Diaz had reached for the officer’s gun, which is why he was shot.
Avendano-Hernandez ran back into his house, barricading himself there for some time before the NYPD arrested him, sources said.
Nadler and Velázquez want clarification on what led to “the agent’s decision to employ his or her firearm.”
The legislators also want “confirmation that ICE agents in New York are in no way impeding these immigrants’ access to counsel.”