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Motion to dismiss in border patrol shooting lawsuit

December 9, 2009 - 10:15 am

The federal government says an invasion-of-privacy suit brought by a former San Diego area border patrol agent is bogus and wants it dismissed.

“The (p)laintiffs cannot show how their privacy was implicated or invaded by news coverage of a matter of public concern that occurred in a public place where (p)laintiffs had no expectation of privacy,” Cindy Cipriani, an assistant United States attorney said in a motion to dismiss the suit filed just before Thanksgiving.

Arturo Lorenzo sued the government this fall after a surveillance video of him shooting and killing an immigrant on the banks of the All-American Canal was leaked and ended up on national news programs. In his suit, Lorenzo said the publication of the video—which had his name and rank added on a title card at the beginning—invaded his privacy, made him look bad, hurt his reputation and caused him and his wife near financial ruin.

First Amendment experts told CityBeat that most of Lorenzo’s claims were weak and unlikely to go anywhere because the shooting was genuinely newsworthy. Lorenzo’s attorneys disagreed in court documents, but they declined to talk with us about the suit. Indeed, court records show the government had some problems with Lorenzo’s first complaint, so his lawyer asked the judge to change some things and refile it. They did that in early November, then the government filed its current motion to dismiss.

The court could dismiss the complaint (or at least parts of it) based on the filings, but more likely will set a hearing date in the near future after Lorenzo’s attorneys have had a chance to file a response.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse Thomas permalink
    December 9, 2009 - 2:53 pm 2:53 pm

    Lorenzo’s claim that the video makes him look ‘bad’ is really such an insult to any normal person.

    There should be criminal charges against Lorenzo for the murder of the immigrant, and immigration officials should be disarmed. They are just too dangerous.

  2. December 10, 2009 - 11:28 am 11:28 am

    are you serious? He was doing his job. In most other countries they’ll shoot you for illegally crossing their border too. Maybe they just don’t have whiny leftists there…?

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