Agent: Gas used to keep Elian protesters at bay
Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
MIAMI - A federal agent testified Thursday that he sprayed a tear gas gun at demonstrators outside the home of Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives to keep them from surging over barricades and interfering with the raid to seize the boy and return him to his father in Cuba.
Agent Daniel J. Dargan, testifying in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by 13 people who say they were injured by agents, said he was the only one assigned a gas gun during the April 2000 raid and did not remember which supervisor assigned it to him.
"I never sprayed it directly at one person," Dargan said.
The 13 plaintiffs - nine people in neighboring houses and four women who were behind police barricades - are seeking up $250,000. They blame their injuries and emotional distress on biased agents bearing shotguns and gas guns.
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore is hearing the nonjury trial, which is expected to end today. He has given no indication when he will announce his verdict.
Dargan testified he sprayed the gas intermittently to make the crowd recede after a chair and other objects were thrown over the police barricade.
He added that no one ordered him to spray the gas, but sprayed "in response to the crowd surging toward the barricade," Dargan said.
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