‘The war is not over’ El Paso veteran put in chokehold at VA has lawsuit rejected by supreme court

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Jose Oliva, a veteran and retired law enforcement officer, says he went to the El Paso VA for a dental appointment back in 2016.

His visit started with an officer asking him to show identification and ended with him in a choke hold.

Video surveillance from the incident has no sound but shows an officer speaking with Oliva before the officer takes out handcuffs and then moments later three officers take Olivas to the ground.

His lawsuit against the three officers involved was rejected on Monday by the supreme court.


“The government has let me down,” said Oliva in an interview with KTSM 9 News.

Oliva says he need shoulder surgery after the incident and also had injuries to his eardrum, hand and throat.

“The first one that was very evident was my throat because of the choke hold,” said Oliva.

Oliva’s lawyer says his case was rejected because there are laws in place that prevent people from sueing federal offciers.


“Qualified immunity shields federal workers from being sued for violated constitution overcame. but another protection caused Bibbins that says federal officers You simply can not sue federal officials in Texas,” said Patrick Jaicomo who represents Oliva.

“No court will ever look at what happened to Jose and say yes this did violate your constitutional rights or no it didn’t and no court will ever decide the facts that applied to the case. So instead the case just gets thrown out on these technical protections like qualified immunity and this absolute immunity so Jose will never get his day in court,” said Jaicomo.

A lawyer representing one of the officers involved explaining more about why the officers are protected.


“The case against the individual’s agents that’s what qualified immunity protects federal employees especially in law enforcement to be protected when they are acting in their official capacity,” said Louis Lopez who represents one of the federal officers.

Lopez adds that it’s was the federal officer’s job to protect the building.

“The agents don’t know if he’s a disgruntled vet who is carrying a fire arm and start walking in to offices and start shooting people,” said Lopez.

Oliva said he also has a lawsuit against the federal government and that case is still pending. He won’t stop fighting, he added.

“The war is not over, as long as I’m alive, as long as I’m breathing,” said Oliva.

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