NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An undocumented immigrant from Mexico was arrested Tuesday, held at gunpoint outside of an immigration law office in Nashville.
This is the same man who was shot by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in an Antioch parking lot two weeks ago.
“I opened the door, take a couple steps out, the first thing I notice is an ICE officer holding a gun over our client who is face down on the ground with another ICE officer on his back, with his knees in his back,” said the man’s attorney at Ozment Law, Aaron Dendy.
The man on the ground was 39-year-old Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez.
A grand jury indicted Sanchez for unlawfully entering the U.S. after previously being deported four times– taking on fake identities, charged with domestic assault and aggravated child abuse.
He was shot by an ICE agent when they attempted to apprehend him on September 5. ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said Sanchez tried to flee in a truck and that’s when an agent fired two shots — one striking him. Sanchez got away but later turned himself in to the FBI.
“We strongly believe some big-time mistakes were made when Mr. Sanchez was shot,” Dendy said, “Yesterday I don’t know if it was illegal but it seems real bad.”
Dendy described to News 2 what happened Tuesday afternoon. He said he approached the ICE agents with his hands up and asked what was going on.
“I just kept hearing, ‘This is the safest way for us to conduct this arrest…’ ‘We weren’t sure how he was going to react, Mr. Sanchez’ and something about they didn’t want to let him get on the road and flee,” Dendy told News 2. “I understand that, but what I don’t understand, I don’t understand why a weapon was pulled.”
He said it was a traumatizing experience that sent a message of fear to all immigrants.
“People should have access to counsel,” he said, “Yesterday told immigrants ‘Don’t go see your attorney, even if you have a legal option available to you — don’t go see an attorney because we’re gonna arrest you and it might be with a gun, and we’ve already shot you once.”
Cox told News 2 that the arrest with firearms was in accordance with federal agency policies for a federal criminal offense.
“They uncuffed Mr. Sanchez and let him hug his wife and give her his money and his stuff that he had on him. That’s why there needs to be some nuance in these conversations. You know? Most people are just trying to do their job,” Dendy said.
Dendy added that he does not want people to judge ICE agents as racist, and he does not want people to look at immigration lawyers as people after money, but instead for everyone to find a middle ground.
“There’s a safer way, there’s a better way, and something bad happened yesterday,” Dendy concluded.
He said guns don’t need to be involved every time, especially when his client has shown cooperation previously turning himself in, and he adds, they should not be staking people out as they seek legal help. He tells News 2 he will be looking into the laws and how this can be avoided in the future.
Sanchez did plead “not guilty” in court Wednesday.