Ramon Torres is a United States citizen, but according to a new lawsuit, the Honduras-born man was detained because a Louisiana sheriff’s office wrongly believed he was in the country without documentation.
On August 2018, Torres was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The next day the Parish Court ordered his release, but instead of being released the Ascension Paris Sheriff’s Office placed an “immigration hold” on Torres, according to the ACLU.
Torres, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2009, was carrying multiple forms of identification, including his driver’s license and other security credentials. Torres was booked at the Ascension Parish Jail, and the next day the Parish Court ordered his release. But they didn’t let him go, reportedly because the office’s policy is to detain all Latinx and review their immigration status.
His friends and family provided additional documentation (Torres had his passport, driver’s license and Social Security card at the time of his arrest) to prove that he was a citizen, but he was still not released. It took a lawyer getting involved for Torres to finally be let go, almost 10 days later. Because of this the ACLU of Louisiana sued on Torres’ behalf.
“Racial profiling is illegal, unconstitutional and deeply harmful to families and communities – diverting scarce resources away from pressing public safety priorities,” the ACLU wrote. “What happened to Torres is inexcusable and antithetical to our most cherished American values.”
The lawsuit wants the court to rule that acts like this are unconstitutional and award damages to Torres.