Home » Charges are dropped against Virgilio Aguilar, the Guatemalan accused of the “natural” death of the police officer who arrested him

Charges are dropped against Virgilio Aguilar, the Guatemalan accused of the “natural” death of the police officer who arrested him

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Charges are dropped against Virgilio Aguilar, the Guatemalan accused of the “natural” death of the police officer who arrested him

Guatemalan immigrant Virgilio Aguilar Méndez to be released from prison after charges dismissed

Virgilio Aguilar Méndez, a 19-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who has been in prison for eight months, is set to be released after his charges were dismissed by the Seventh District State Attorney’s Office on Friday.

Aguilar was accused of the “natural” death of a police officer who arrested him in May 2023. However, recent expert testimony regarding Aguilar’s inability to understand English, his cultural background, and concerns about his intellectual capacity led to the dismissal of the charges.

Despite the dismissal of charges, Aguilar remains in federal custody facing a deportation order. His lawyer expressed hope that he will be released soon, as they continue to fight for his immediate release.

Aguilar, who speaks neither English nor Spanish but a variation of Mayan known as Mam, was arrested outside a hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, and charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and resisting arrest. The violent arrest and details of the charges sparked outrage earlier this year, with many calling for his release.

Following Aguilar’s arrest, Sergeant Michael Paul Kunovich of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department collapsed and died from a massive heart attack. The charges against Aguilar were deemed “brazen” by his lawyer, who argued that the sergeant’s death was due to pre-existing health conditions exacerbated by the effort to detain Aguilar.

The case gained widespread attention on social media, with activists calling for support for Aguilar. His lawyer maintained that his arrest was part of a hostile climate in Florida following the approval of the anti-immigrant law SB 1718.

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Aguilar’s release is expected soon, as he prepares to face deportation proceedings despite the dismissal of charges in his case.

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