We are representing Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a United States citizen and Marine Corps veteran who was wrongfully turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation proceedings. Mr. Ramos-Gomez, who suffers from PTSD as a result of his military service in Afghanistan, was arrested by the Grand Rapids police in 2018 after trespassing at a local hospital. An off-duty police captain named Curt VanderKooi saw Mr. Ramos-Gomez’s picture on the news and asked ICE to check his “status,” despite having no reason to think he was undocumented other than his name and Latino appearance. ICE then issued an immigration detainer request for Mr. Ramos-Gomez, resulting in the Kent County Jail placing him in federal custody until his family could prove he was a U.S. citizen and get him released. An ACLU of Michigan investigation revealed that VanderKooi, who is supposed to have no role in immigration enforcement, has contacted ICE on over 80 occasions, each time asking them to check the immigration status of a person of color. In 2019 VanderKooi was suspended without pay, the Grand Rapids police announced a new policy that prohibits officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status or contacting ICE for civil immigration enforcement, and the City of Grand Rapids settled Mr. Ramos-Gomez’s claim for $190,000. Similarly, Kent County adopted a new policy requiring a judicial warrant before turning someone over to ICE. ICE, however, refused to accept responsibility, and we filed suit to hold the officers involved accountable. Judge Robert Jonker dismissed that lawsuit in January 2022 on various grounds, including qualified immunity. In May 2022 we filed a second lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act seeking damages for Mr. Ramos-Gomez. (Ramos-Gomez v. Adducci; ACLU of Michigan v. Department of Homeland Security; Ramos-Gomez v. United States; ACLU Attorneys Miriam Aukerman, Dan Korobkin, Monica Andrade, Elaine Lewis, and Ramis Wadood; Cooperating Attorneys Anand Swaminathan, Joshua Burday, Merrick Wayne, Megan Pierce, and Matthew Topic of Loevy & Loevy; additional attorneys include Julia Kelly, Richard Kessler, and Hillary Scholten.)
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