GRAVESEND — Yesterday morning, Eric Diaz, 26, of West 12th Street, was shot by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer during the detainment of Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez, 33, who ICE stated had been already once removed from the country, and was an illegal alien from Mexico.
ICE officers said they were physically attacked while attempting to arrest Avendano-Hernandez, the ICE press office stated. The victim was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where locals gathered for a protest last night.
Today at a press conference, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams addressed the incident.
“The botched ICE arrest that led to 26-year-old Eric Díaz’s getting shot can’t happen again,” he stated. Calling for strong federal accountability measures like body cameras for ICE officers, that are required for NYPD officers, Adams added, “ICE should not be allowed to move around this city without a body camera to see what they’re doing here in this city.”
Congressmembers Nydia M. Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler, representing the 7th and 10th districts respectively, wrote a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the shooting, demanding clarity on the incident and protocol for the agents to deploy a weapon.
“The conflicting narratives from ICE agents and those of the family are disturbing. This unfortunate incident further erodes trust in the agency’s mission and its responsibilities. Moreover, the nature of the incident is serious enough to warrant a review of practices and protocol employed by ICE agents in the field.
Furthermore, it is our understanding that agents currently stationed at Maimonides Hospital are preventing the men involved in the incident access to legal counsel. Preventing full and fair access to counsel is unacceptable and this practice must cease immediately.”
Councilmember Mark Treyger, whose district includes Gravesend, told us yesterday: “We still don’t know why ICE was conducting an operation in Southern Brooklyn but we do know their mere presence generates justifiable alarm and panic in our community.”
Assemblyman William Colton, whose district represents Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights, also released a statement regarding the shooting, saying that while it is a tragedy, more information needs to be released.
“There must be a full and thorough investigation of this incident before any conclusions are reached,” Colton stated. “Such investigation must include full transparency including public release of any surveillance tapes so that the public can have confidence in whatever conclusions are reached.”
This incident is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG).