Dashcam footage has emerged showing a Border Patrol agent in Pine Valley, California shooting a Taser into a car causing it to ignite and kill the driver back in March of 2012.
Alex Martin was burned alive, and now his family is suing the federal government.
Border Patrol agents say they tried to pull Martin over for driving the wrong way on Interstate 8, but family attorney Gene Iredale said Tuesday that the pursuing agents were all in plain clothes and unmarked cars, so Martin did not stop.
For about three minutes, Martin led the agents on a high-speed pursuit that ended when he drove over spike strips that deflated his tires, court documents say.
Martin, who had pulled over on the side of the road, had no way of knowing the men approaching him were law enforcement, Iredale claims.
“These agents approached in unmarked cars, in plain clothes and never identified themselves by the display of badges or even the simple statement ‘Border Patrol,'” the attorney said.
The dashcam footage shows a plainclothes agent using a flashlight to break the passenger side window and then deploy a taser inside the vehicle. Immediately, the car explodes into flames, throwing the agents backward.
Iredale believes a container of gas had spilled in the car, which was ignited by the taser.
Instead of trying to save Martin, all of the agents pulled their vehicles away from the scene, despite each patrol car being equip with a fire extinguisher.
Watch the raw footage(warning graphic):
“All three of those cars had large fire extinguishers in them and standard equipment,” Iredale said. “Not one of these agents ever even tried to spray any of the fire extinguisher solution on that car.”
Gabriel Pacheco, a lead Border Patrol union representative, has called the incident one of ‘high risk’ to agents, citing that the agent responsible for deploying the taser suffered minor burns.
Pacheco says all Border Patrol procedures were followed in the inceident and that Martin’s death could have been avoided if he had just “pulled over in the first place and complied.”
The federal government has filed a motion in the case for the dismissal of the lawsuit entirely. That decision should be made by a judge within 30 to 60 days.