…and Noonan wept.
A federal judge Friday ruled against awarding damages to 13 people who were tear-gassed by immigration agents during the raid to seize 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez five years ago.
In a 19-page decision U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore said the demonstrators and bystanders failed to show enough credible evidence that federal officers’ use of force was “unreasonable under the circumstances.”
The 13 people sued the government for $3.25 million (&euro2.51 million), claiming they had lingering injuries after being sprayed at close range on their own property or behind barricades. Three neighbors testified that an agent gassed them without warning from 2 to 4 feet (about 1 meter) away as they stood alone in their fenced front yards.
Justice Department attorneys argued at trial that the tear-gassing of bystanders was “an unavoidable consequence” during the April 22, 2000 raid, which led to the boy’s eventual return to Cuba with his father.
Attorney Larry Klayman, who represented the 13th bystander, claimed immigration agents were “paying back the Cuban community” for the prolonged custody fight. He said then-Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the raid “following the instructions of the Cuban government.”
For those keeping score at home, Larry Klayman is now 0-for-infinity.