Immigrant accused of killing police officer released after case dismissed

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A Guatemalan illegal immigrant charged kill a policeman He was released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last year.

Virgilio Aguilar Mendez, 19, was charged with aggravated manslaughter after a scuffle with multiple officers Law enforcement officers May 2023.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Kunovich died as a result of the incident, but charges against Mendez were dropped last month.

On Friday, Aguilar Mendes’ attorney Felipe Arroyo shared a TikTok video showing the moment Mendes was released from custody for the first time since May 2023. The video shows the teen talking to Arroyo as he walks towards the camera, smiling and nodding.

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Virgilio Aguilar Mendez, 19, walked out of custody with his lawyer on Friday. (Tik Tok)

“Virgilio Aguilar is finally free! God is great,” Arroyo wrote in Spanish.

Kunovich, 52, collapsed 10 months ago due to a “medical incident” during an encounter with then-18-year-old Aguilar Mendez. The officer later died.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Kunovich initially approached Aguilar Mendez on May 19 around 9 p.m., suspecting him of criminal conduct. Aguilar Mendez then continued walking away from the deputy.

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“Aguilar Mendez was walking on a public sidewalk and talking to his mother. It’s not a crime,” a lawsuit states. “When Sergeant Kunovich grabbed Aguilar Mendez, he stopped and made no attempt to escape.”

The officer pursued Aguilar Mendez, who apologized in English and then continued to resist arrest.

The immigrant was said to be confused; Tell the deputy, “Sorry, don’t speak, don’t speak English.”

Sheriff Robert Hardwick said at the time that other officers, including Spanish-speaking officers, responded and officers Tasered the immigrant and pushed him to the ground.

Jose Baez

Defense attorney Jose Baez joined Aguilar Mendez’s defense. (Media News Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies attempted to restrain Aguilar Mendez, saying he was resisting arrest.

Then the representatives handcuff immigrants, but he managed to get a small knife. The office did not say whether the immigrant attempted to use the weapon.

The scuffle was captured on a police body camera, and lawyers pointed to the video as evidence the immigrants were unable to understand or speak English.

Aguilar Mendez Attorney, Jose Baez, Arguing that his client was confused and did not understand the purpose or reason for the officers’ repeated beatings on him and the sergeant’s repeated use of a Taser. Kunovich.

The lawsuit filed by Baez claims that another responding deputy, Lt. Jose Jimenez, failed to make Aguilar Mendez aware of his actions. Miranda Rights Or try to find a translator for him.

The Seventh District State Attorney’s Office agreed and released a statement.

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“Recent expert testimony regarding the defendant’s inability to understand English, his cultural background, and concerns about his intellectual abilities raise significant issues for consideration in this case,” the State Attorney’s Office said.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Vehicles

Sgt. Michael Kunovich is a 25-year veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. (St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

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“Furthermore, based on the court’s recent ruling that the defendant is incompetent to proceed based on expert testimony, dismissal of the charges is appropriate. Arrest and prison time are sufficient.”

Kunovich is a 25-year veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Hardwick described him as “a valued member of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office who has passionately dedicated his career to To keep the community safe.”

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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