ICE Officer Accused Of Hitting Hispanic Teen With Car, Then Moving The Victim To Cover Up The Crime

According to a civil lawsuit against the federal government, a former San Diego Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent attempted to mislead his supervisors after allegedly striking a pedestrian — a Hispanic teenager — with his car.

Ali Mendoza claims ICE Agent Thomas Malandris struck him with his car in National City, San Diego County almost five years ago when he was 18 years old. Mendoza's suit alleges that Malandris was speeding in an unmarked vehicle at night, without headlights, emergency lights or sirens on.

According to the Washington Post, Malandris was suspended for five days after the incident but was promoted after returning to work. The Post also noted that "Malandris had previously been suspended for misusing a government credit card."

Mendoza, who suffered permanent injuries as a result of the crash, claims that after he was hit by the vehicle, Malandris moved his vehicle and Mendoza's body.

"Despite 18-year-old Ali Mendoza's obvious injuries when he was struck – and the potential for others that were less visible, like damage to his spinal cord or brain – Malandris 'dragged Mendoza over 30 feet back to the opposite end of the street and moved his ICE vehicle to the same location in an effort to frame Mendoza as the cause of the collision by setting up a fraudulent 'dart-out' scenario,'" a report says. "Malandris moved Mendoza before calling for help. It was actually a National City Police officer who arrived at the scene who called an ambulance."

In addition to that, court documents and testimony show Malandris may have misled his superiors about the incident and attempted to lay the blame on the victim.

"ICE did a follow-up investigation, a three-level investigation, and found that Mr. Malandris was not being candid in his own reporting and that Mr. Malandris and Mr. Malandris alone was responsible for the collision," Mendoza's attorney Joseph Dicks told Team 10.

Richard Abend, an ICE supervisor who has since retired, was in charge of reviewing Malandris' conduct. According to testimony, Abend discovered discrepancies between Malandris' initial account and findings made by National City police and ICE, both who investigated the collision.

"And you, personally, after learning what truly happened, as opposed to what Mr. Malandris told you, [felt] that Mr. Maladris was not being truthful in his reporting to his supervisors about the collision; correct?" Dicks asked Abend on the first day of the trial.

"Correct," Abend answered.

"You were concerned that you were – that someone was going to think you were trying to cover up, correct?" Dicks continued.

Abend responded: "Yes, sir."

Mendoza also alleges that the National City police officer, who responded to the accident, illegally directed the hospital where he was being treated to draw his blood to test for drugs without his consent.

"Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportation Agent Malandris knew just how to marginalize a Hispanic young man with a Hispanic surname and he knew just how to, you know, get him to be a zero," said Linda Workman, another one of Mendoza's attorneys. "It followed him all the way to the emergency room and all the way through this case."

Mendoza is suing the city in a separate lawsuit.