SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The family of a man who died after falling from a border wall near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government.
The complaint filed in San Diego federal court alleges law enforcement refused to seek medical attention for 38-year-old Joel Reyes Munoz after he fell from the border barrier on Jan. 12, 2022.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Reyes Munoz's widow and children states that after the fall, Reyes Munoz was arrested and held in custody at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. He later ``became ill and eventually unresponsive,'' according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Lifesaving efforts commenced, but he was pronounced dead about an hour and 45 minutes after his fall.
``Although it was obvious that he had sustained serious injuries and was manifestly in need of immediate emergency medical care, Border Patrol and CBP officials refused to bring him to an emergency hospital facility,'' the complaint states. ``Only when Mr. Reyes Munoz became unconscious and stopped breathing did any government official summon emergency medical services. By that time, Mr. Reyes Munoz, because of the delay, had already died.''
According to the complaint, border fall deaths and injuries in the San Diego area had been on the rise around the time of Reyes Munoz's death.
Figures from the San Diego County Medical Examiner indicate there were zero such deaths between 2016 and 2018, but 16 people died from border barrier falls between 2019 and 2021, according to the complaint. Fall injuries during those same time periods also increased from 67 between 2016 and 2018 to 375 between 2019 and 2021.
The suit alleges the increase in fall incidents should have put Border Patrol and CBP officials on notice of the potentially fatal consequences.
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