Video: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Then the Death of an ICE Detainee


Carlos Mejia-Bonilla was starting his day at work at a construction site on Long Island when he was arrested by immigration officers in an alleged case of mistaken identity.

He told authorities they had the wrong person, but he was locked up at the Hudson County Correctional Facility anyway on April 1 because he was in the country illegally.

Within 10 weeks, he was dead.

Federal immigration officials said in a release that the 47-year-old Mejia-Bonilla “died of complications of a previous medical condition.”

His family believes the lack of care may have led to his death.

While in jail, Mejia-Bonilla, who had diabetes, anemia and cirrhosis of the liver, told his family he was worried about his health and that he wasn’t receiving all the medication he needed. In a phone call to his family shortly before his death, he told them he was going to file a complaint, said Manuel Portela, an attorney representing the family.

On June 8, Mejia-Bonilla’s family was waiting in court for him to appear at his bond hearing, but he never showed. They tracked down a jail officer and learned he had been taken to Jersey City Medical Center.

Though they were forbidden to enter his room at the hospital because he was a federal detainee, his brother got a glimpse of him through a doorway. The ailing man appeared semi-conscious or sedated and unable to speak, Portela said.

He died on June 10.

The family is awaiting the results of his autopsy.

“We are going to hold them accountable for lack of proper medical care if the autopsy supports that,” Portela said. “Not only for Rolando Meza, but for other inmates that are complaining about lack of proper medical attention as well as overall conditions at the facility.”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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