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Family Says Police Profiled, Attacked Them, Violated Their Civil Rights

JACKSON, Miss. — An ordinary morning turned into a nightmare for a Latino American family in Jackson.  Now they want a federal investigation, saying their civil rights were violated.

“The way we were treated, no one deserves to be treated that way.  We are human being,” said an emotional Rosi Lopez at a press conference in Jackson Thursday afternoon.

On December 3 while getting her children dressed for school, she said U.S. Marshals and local police kicked in the front door of her home, ransacked the place and even attached her family.  “They don’t’ deserve those badges they have.  They were supposed to protect us.”

Lopez says while searching her home for a black man wanted for murder, Marshals even called her racial names and told her to go back to Mexico.  “Me, I’m an American Citizen.  I tell my family, I don’t want to be here anymore.”

The family has moved from their Jackson home; but Lopez says they have not escaped the emotional scares.  “My children tell me, ‘Momma tell daddy to nail the door down in case the police come and hurt us.’”

The Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance (MIRA) has written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on behalf of the family, asking for an investigation to determine if those Marshals violated the family’s civil rights.

“To us, this is a serious case of racial profiling,” said MIRA Executive Director Bill Chandler.  “Because they were looking for a young African American man who had no connection with the family; and when they encountered Latinos, they barged into the house and basically attacked the family.”

Chandler added that, “Apprehending dangerous criminals is an important government function.  However, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not disappear when law enforcement officers are carrying out important government functions.”

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