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Jury Rules Mississippi Officers Who Killed Ismael Lopez After Going Into Wrong House Were Justified

A Mississippi jury delivered a verdict in a civil lawsuit claiming that Southaven police officers Zachary Durden and Samuel Maze were justified in the murder of Ismael Lopez. The lawsuit filed through Lopez' widow Claudia Linares, stemmed from the fatal shooting of Lopez in 2017 when officers served a warrant at the wrong address.

After a four-day trial, the federal court jury in Oxford concluded that the officers did not violate Ismael Lopez's civil rights when Durden fatally shot him. Attorney Murray Wells, representing the officers, stated that the jurors found that the use of force was not excessive, considering all the facts presented.

The case gained attention due to the city of Southaven's argument that Lopez, a Mexican man, had no civil rights to be violated because of his illegal residency status in the United States and pending criminal charges. However, a judge rejected this argument in 2020, asserting that constitutional rights apply to all individuals.

Lopez's murder occurred when officers mistakenly went to the wrong address to serve a domestic violence warrant on a neighbor. They knocked on the door without identifying themselves, which led to a tragic series of events. Lopez was shot through the door, resulting in his death.

The officers claimed they had ordered Lopez to drop his rifle, but no known video evidence of the incident exists. Lopez was found dead with his hands cuffed behind his back, raising questions about his death's circumstances. Despite a state grand jury's decision not to indict anyone in the case, the lawsuit sought accountability.

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