ICE agent Cole Dotson was trying to catch up with a drug suspect that he had under surveillance, driving at speeds up to 100 MPH. He ran a stop sign at 80 MP without using his emergency lights or siren, broadsiding a van, killing three women and injuring two children.
Last month U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia let the douchebag walk free, claiming that “making the agent face criminal charges would have a “chilling effect” on all federal law enforcement officers who are in emergency situations.”
I sure as hell hope it would have a chilling effect, you moron. If these renegades can’t be held accountable for their recklessly negligent behavior in our communities, then they need to be REMOVED from our communities.
San Diego Union Tribune: Manslaughter charges against ICE agent dismissed (May 24 2012)
A judge dismissed all criminal charges on Thursday against a federal agent who ran a stop sign at an Imperial County intersection three years ago, killing three women and injuring two children.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia said long-standing federal law gives immunity from state prosecution to federal law enforcement officers accused of crimes committed in the course of their duties.
That means Cole Dotson, a special agent with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, will no longer face three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter brought by the Imperial County district attorney.
When Battaglia announced he was dismissing the case, Dotson broke down into tears, embracing his lawyer, Jeremy Warren, several family members and fellow agents at the hearing.
The case was filed in Superior Court in Imperial County, and Dotson was ordered to stand trial there following an October preliminary hearing. His lawyers then got the case transferred to federal court under a law that allows federal officers who plan to claim immunity to criminal charges to have their cases heard in federal court.
The charges stem from a crash on Dec. 29, 2009, that occurred when Dotson, who was part of a surveillance team following a suspected methamphetamine smuggler, slammed into a van driven by Sandra Garcia, 41.
Dotson was trying to catch up with the surveillance team and was driving his government car at speeds of more than 100 mph, according to the California Highway Patrol. When he went through the stop sign, his speed was estimated at 80 mph. Though the car had lights and sirens, they were not on.
Also killed in Garcia’s van were passengers Maria Nieto, 49, and Patricia Reyes, 47. Two children were injured. The families of the deceased settled a lawsuit against the federal government for $11 million in February.
Warren argued the criminal case had to be dismissed because Dotson was doing his job as a federal agent and acted in good faith with no intent to harm anyone when the crash happened.
But prosecutor Wayne Robinson contended Dotson’s actions were not reasonable under the circumstances. Federal officers only get immunity as long as their actions were “necessary and proper” for carrying out their duties. Robinson said high-speed driving and other actions were neither.
Battaglia disagreed. While he said that Dotson’s actions were negligent, he said making the agent face criminal charges would have a “chilling effect” on all federal law enforcement officers who are in emergency situations.
“We’ve got a law enforcement officer acting in the scope and course of his duty,” Battaglia said.
Outside of court, Warren said Dotson felt “terrible” about the deaths but the ruling was correct.
“He was doing his job,” Warren said. “The judge made the right call under long-standing law that protects federal officers who are acting in good faith.”
Robinson said a decision on whether to appeal the ruling will be made later.
ICE tried to suppress the name of the cowboy running the stop sign at 80 MPH, and apparently they also tried to impede the accident investigation by preventing photographs from being taken; it also appears neither ICE nor Cole Dotson have the foggiest notion as to what drug dealer he was “monitoring”:
The Narcosphere: People of California v. Cole Joseph Dotson (Feb 22 2012)
Local news media asked ICE for the name of the ICE agent and got nothing in return. Thanks to the California Highway Patrol, the ICE agent was identified as Cole Joseph Dotson. Also no pictures were allowed, a very strange of handling things for ICE.
In the Imperial County case, Dotson was driving a government-issued Ford Taurus at speeds of more than 100 mph seconds before the collision, according to a California Highway Patrol report. The car’s emergency lights and sirens weren’t on, the report said.
The report laid the blame for the crash squarely on Dotson because he ran a clearly marked stop sign at the intersection before slamming into the van.
… ICE doesn’t know who the drug smuggler is and Dotson had never the suspect under “monitoring.” Otherwise, he/she would not have evaded the other ICE units.
San Diego Union Tribune: Families settle for $11 million in fatal ICE crash (Feb 16 2012)
San Diego Union Tribune: Customs agent charged in fatal on-duty crash (Oct 10 2011)
The car came speeding out of the Imperial County desert night, and Cynthia Cruz watched as it hurtled toward the intersection just a few hundred feet ahead of her.
“Oh, my God. It’s not going to stop!” she said.
She was right. In the next instant, she watched as the sedan sped into the intersection and broadsided a 1990 Dodge Caravan, Cruz told police investigators. The van and the sedan ended up in a drainage ditch, the Dodge resting on its roof.
The crash Cruz witnessed on Dec. 29, 2009, killed three women and injured two children in the van.