Pine Valley, CA — The family of Alex Martin has filed a lawsuit against the federal government after their son was burned alive in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
According to NBC San Diego:
The family’s attorney Gene Iredale said Martin had been driving for 22 hours on his way back from Texas when he got lost in Pine Valley, California, in March 2012. According to court documents, Border Patrol agents tried to pull him over for driving the wrong way on Interstate 8.
But Iredale told NBC 7 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.
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.
In the video we can see the plainclothes agents approach Martin’s vehicle and smash the window out with a flashlight. As soon as the agent fires the taser inside the vehicle, the car erupts into flames.
Apparently during the pursuit, a canister of gasoline had spilled over inside Martin’s car. When the taser was fired, it ignited the fumes, engulfing Martin in flames and sending the border patrol agent flying back.
Martin burned to death inside of the vehicle. Instead of trying to help him, the border patrol agents pulled their vehicles away from the scene.
“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 representative for the border patrol union says that all border patrol procedures were followed.
However, Iredale says that the agents failing to identify themselves is not following protocol.
“This was a senseless act in a senseless way for somebody who had violated no law and who lost their life needlessly,” said Iredale.
Below is the graphic and disturbing dashcam video.