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Monday's ICE Raids Should Be Investigated, Politicians Say After Man Shot

By Josh McGhee | March 29, 2017 9:05pm | Updated on March 31, 2017 11:21am
 A federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent shot and wounded a 53-year-old man in Belmont Cragin on Monday morning, officials said.
A federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent shot and wounded a 53-year-old man in Belmont Cragin on Monday morning, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin

CHICAGO — The son of a man shot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers in Belmont Cragin Monday pleaded not guilty to gun charges filed before the ICE raid.

Monday, Felix Torres Jr. entered a not guilty plea on nine counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon stemming from a traffic stop Feb. 24 in Belmont Cragin, according to court records. He posted $5,000 bond.

Torres was in a car with several people when officers stopped them and found a handgun, his lawyer, Thomas Hallock told the Chicago Sun Times. No one in the car would claim ownership so Torres and another passenger were charged, Hallock said.

Torres has previous convictions for drug possession and trespassing, court records show.

Hallock couldn't give a reason for why ICE would've targeted Torres, who is a U.S. citizen who was born in the U.S. to legal U.S. residents.

Torres did not speak to reporters Wednesday.

Around 6:20 a.m. Monday, ICE agents entered the Torres home in the 6100 block of West Grand Avenue. A man pointed a gun at the agents, according to ICE, and an agent opened fire wounding the man.

Torres' 53-year-old father, who is also named Felix, was shot in his left arm during the incident. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, police said.

Family has said the father, who is 53, did not have a gun and all family members are U.S. residents.

On Twitter, ICE said the raid was part of a "gang op," which it regularly conducts across the country.

Torres Jr. is not a gang member, Hallock said Wednesday.

The guilty plea came as reports surfaced of a second raid in Chicago Monday.

Wilmer Catalan Ramirez, who is partially paralyzed, was dragged from his home by ICE agents, according to a spokesman for Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Monday morning, his wife saw ICE agents in black with "police" written on the front of their uniforms. The agents approached her with a sheet of paper and a photo of a man and asked her if she knew the man. She did not, according to spokesman Manuel Perez.

When she returned home from the grocery store the agents were still outside her home. When she opened the door, officers pushed their way inside her home and found Ramirez in bed, Perez said.

The officers then dragged Ramirez, who was recovering from a shooting weeks ago, out of the home. Ramirez was not the man from the photo, Perez said.

ICE did not respond to requests for comment.

Garcia said he's written a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and Director Ricardo Wong demanding transparency in the recent raids.

"Reports from both families point to the use of excessive force in identifying and removing each individual from their homes. If ICE is engaging in deportation operations, it must immediately stop the practice of misidentifying itself because it sows fear and distrust in our communities," Garcia said in a press release Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is calling for "a full and fair investigation" that involves the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties into the circumstances surrounding the Torres shooting after receiving no information from ICE.

“The investigation should be conducted with the cooperation of the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to assess whether all rules of engagement were strictly followed and to determine if the shooting was an appropriate use of force," said Gutierrez.

"What we know is that the man who got shot had a green card because our office helped him with that process more than a decade ago. We also know that the Trump deportation force thinks it can raid someone’s home with weapons drawn at any hour of the day or night with very little oversight or accountability and that is just not right.  That should not be the way ICE operates in the City of Chicago or anywhere else,” he said.