Moral Low Ground


“The Warrant is Coming Out of My Balls”: ICE Agents Violently Raid Tennessee Apartment Complex Without Warrant, Violating Residents’ Fourth Amendment Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Tennessee have filed a federal lawsuit against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Metro Nashville Police and others over the unlawful and violent raid on a Nashville apartment complex a year ago.

ICE agents prepare for a raid.

Last October 20, as Angel Enrique and Jesus Antonio were sleeping in their small apartment in the Clairmont complex, ICE agents suddenly began pounding on their door and shouting “POLICE!” in English and Spanish. The doors and windows were all locked; that didn’t matter to the federal agents who busted into the unit as Antonio huddled in fear in a closet.

The ICE agents tore up the place and shouted racial slurs as they went. They drew their guns and pointed them at the terrified residents’ heads. When one asked if they had a warrant, the agent spat: “We don’t need a warrant, we’re ICE.” Pointing to his crotch, he added: “The warrant is coming out of my balls.”

Says the ACLU:

The Fourth Amendment strictly prohibits warrantless intrusions into private homes and the Constitution’s protections apply to both citizens and non-citizens alike. In the absence of a judicially authorized warrant, there must be voluntary and knowing consent; ICE officers forcing themselves into someone’s home does not constitute consent.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 15 Clairmont residents, including U.S. citizens and a child who was detained and interrogated because he was Latino, alleges that the management company of the apartment complex wanted to “chase away” its residents. According to the complaint:

The new management company that took over the Clairmont was hired to “clean house, and get the Hispanics gone.” Within the course of one rental cycle, the management company abandoned its on-site offices, hired a notoriously harsh security company, allowed two buildings to lose hot water, began demanding social security numbers in order to sign a lease agreement and saw a large-scale, highly coordinated immigration/law enforcement raid that led to at least 20 immigration-related detentions (but no criminal arrests) and caused scores of apartments to become vacant, the consequences of which effectively resulted in the mass exodus of Latino residents from Clairmont.

For this, the management company is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

To read the lawsuit, click here.

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