San Diego

Judge Could Rule National City Man's Arrest by ICE Unlawful: Attorney

The man's attorney said that whether the arrest is lawful or not depends on a judge’s interpretation of several factors.

The case against a man arrested by armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at his San Diego County home earlier this week, which was captured on video, could be thrown out if the arrest is found unreasonable by a judge, according to his attorney.

A cell phone was recording when ICE agents stormed Alberto Alonso Hernandez’ National City home Tuesday morning and took him into custody. He was arrested on a federal warrant for reentering the country after being deported.

Agents used a crowbar to pry the front door open before others flooded the home with their guns drawn behind a riot shield.

Prior to that, Hernandez’ wife, Brianna Alonso, refused to let the federal agents inside of the family’s home until they showed her a warrant. She is seen in the video asking for the warrant multiple times, and at one point, one of the agents tells Alonso, "You’ve been watching too much movies."

The agent prying open the front door is heard telling her, "We will show you the order once we finish."

She said the agents stayed in front of the home for three hours when Hernandez refused to come out and at one point disconnected their electricity.

Parts of the incident were recorded by Hernandez's 11-year-old daughter who was inside the house, as well as neighbors filming from outside.

Hernandez’ attorney William Baker said that whether the arrest is lawful or not depends on a judge’s interpretation of several factors.

“For instance, they turned off the lights to the house, they were outside for hours," he said. "It’s unknown whether they properly announced themselves before they came in and broke in the door. They did not give the wife the arrest warrant even though she asked for it many times. They apparently took the phone away from the young girl and twisted her arms, and it seemed to be excessive force.”

ICE said the agents in Tuesday's raid followed the agency's training protocols and said agents had an arrest warrant from a federal judge

Baker said that Hernandez is now in criminal custody on a $20,000 bond. If he posts bail and is released from criminal custody, he’ll be detained again by ICE and sent to another detention center where he can post a second bail.

If a judge decides the arrest is unreasonable, he can grant a motion to suppress and the case would go away, Baker said.

The ACLU of Southern California has published a guide for anyone who is confronted by immigration agents at the door. The guide advises residents not to open the door, and to ask to see a warrant.

You can read the guidelines on the ACLU Southern California website or on the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties website.

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