Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 6 a.m.
A federal lawsuit filed this week claims that U.S. marshals acted recklessly when they opened fire in a Boynton Beach parking lot last year and shot an innocent woman five times.
Attorney Ronald Guralnick tells New Times that he's seeking $10 million in compensation for his client, Janira Calderin. According to court documents, Calderin lost half of her middle finger on her right hand and parts of her middle and ring fingers on her left hand. She also had a bullet lodged in her left ankle and suffered a head wound from a bullet that grazed her hairline.
On July 24, 2011, Calderin pulled her Nissan sedan into an apartment complex in Boynton Beach. She got out to greet her sort-of boyfriend, Samir Herrera.
Calderin didn't know that Herrera had previously served 15 years for kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to court documents. Nor did she know that U.S. marshals were pursuing Herrera on a warrant allegedly related to charges of attempted murder, armed robbery, and false imprisonment.
Calderin and Herrera greeted each other and then got into her car -- Herrera taking the driver's seat.
At that point, U.S. marshals who had been surveilling the parking lot flashed their lights, boxed in the Nissan, and told Herrera to raise his hands. Herrera didn't comply and "was allegedly seen fumbling with something below the area of the dashboard," which turned out to be a gun.
The U.S. marhsals fired at Herrera. In response, Herrera fired back and tried to flee by throwing the car in reverse. That's when officers sprayed the passenger side of the car where Calderin was sitting with bullets. Calderin fell out of the car while Herrera attempted to speed away.
"They indiscriminately shot this innocent girl five times," Guralnick says. "This was not an ill-conceived plan; there was no plan for arrest. A novice could have made a better arrest plan than this."
Guralnick says Calderin, a 30-year-old mother of two, has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since the event.
Calls to the U.S. marshal's Miami office were not returned.