The defense attorney for an illegal alien charged with the death of St. Johns County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Kunovich claims that his client is a target of both “police brutality” and racism.
As previously reported, 18-year-old illegal alien Virjilio Aguilar-Mendez from Guatemala was arrested and charged in May of this year with resisting an officer with violence and felony murder in connection to Kunovich’s death.
This week, the felony murder charge was replaced with a single manslaughter charge. The defense attorney for the illegal alien, Phillip Arroyo, told local media that he intends to initiate a civil lawsuit claiming racism and police brutality on Kunovich’s part.
“We believe this is a grave injustice for what seems to be so far an act of police brutality and potential civil rights violations,” Arroyo told News4Jax.
“… Hispanics in general, those who don’t speak English, are victims of police brutality or civil rights violations and sometimes we never hear that story because of the language barrier,” Arroyo said.
“And I think that, in this scenario, it’s very important to shed light on what’s going on here,” he added.
According to police, on May 19, Kunovich lawfully attempted to pat down Aguilar-Mendez as he sat outside a closed business. Instead of cooperating, Aguilar-Mendez attempted to escape from Kunovich. As additional officers intervened, Aguilar-Mendez persisted in resisting arrest.
In the end, Kunovich found himself on the ground grappling with Aguilar-Mendez, who tried to snatch the officer’s taser. The struggle persisted for over six minutes. Afterward, Aguilar-Mendez was handcuffed, but he managed to pull out a pocketknife, which was promptly confiscated.
After the struggle with Aguilar-Mendez, Kunovich fell to the ground. First responders performed life-saving measures, but he was declared dead after being quickly taken to a nearby hospital.
Aguilar-Mendez is currently held in St. Johns County Jail without bail. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have requested custody of the illegal alien if local law enforcement decides to release him.
At Kunovich’s funeral, his oldest son Michael Jr. called his father “a kind, generous, and intelligent man full of common sense and humor.”
“Dad, your shift was over way too soon. Go rest high on that mountain, be our guardian angel, and guide Max and I to serve as you did. I will always love you,” Michael Jr. said.
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