Friday, September 27, 2013



Note:  We will not discuss the shootings by cartel associates and bandits.  Nor the so successful use of bean bag ordinance.  Especially when confronting rifles with real bullets in hands of bandits and smugglers.  

Arizona border shootings
9 hours ago  •  Arizona Daily Star

WASHINGTON — Amid criticism about U.S. border agents using deadly force against immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border, the Homeland… Read more

Border Patrol agents shot three people in Southern Arizona between October and December last year.

Border Patrol agent Nick Ivie died near Bisbee in the early morning of Oct. 2, 2012, in an exchange of gunfire with fellow agents.

The night of Oct. 10, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot many times on a sidewalk in Nogales, Sonora, downhill and across the street from the border fence that the agent fired through.

The 2012 fatal shooting of Elena Rodríguez, 16, is still being investigated. Authorities said a group of people were throwing rocks when a Border Patrol agent fired through the border fence, but a witness has said Elena Rodriguez wasn't throwing rocks.

In August, the Justice Department said it wasn't prosecuting the Border Patrol agents who shot and killed Ramses Barrón Torres and another teen, Carlos LaMadrid, in separate 2011 incidents along the Arizona border.

Barrón Torres, 17, was among three people throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, the Justice Department has said, even after the agents asked them to stop. An autopsy determined the cause of death was a bullet that entered through his right arm and went through his chest, puncturing his lungs and spleen.

The Justice Department said it lacked jurisdiction in the Barrón Torres case because he was slain on the Mexico side of the border.

LaMadrid, 19, was shot in the back several times as he climbed a ladder against the border fence to evade authorities in March 2011. The government said the Douglas teen was in the line of fire because people were throwing rocks at the agents from the top of the fence. The family is suing the government in federal court.


Dashboard cameras coming to US border agent trucks
20 hours ago  •  Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Amid criticism about U.S. border agents using deadly force against immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday it will test new dashboard cameras and overhaul basic training for new agents.

The policy changes do not impose any restrictions on agents who fire on immigrants who throw rocks at them. But the agency does plan to add additional training on rock-throwing incidents.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection described the changes to The Associated Press as resulting from an outside review, an internal audit and a separate report by the department's inspector general. The changes include a pilot program using dashboard cameras in agency vehicles and possibly lapel cameras attached to agents' uniforms, a senior official said. The agency also plans changes to its internal oversight of use-of-force training and how such incidents are tracked.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the department's planned training changes because they had not been released publicly.

Customs and Border Protection has been criticized by civil rights groups and others over agents' use of deadly force along the Mexican border. The inspector general's report this month concluded that many agents don't understand the agency's policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union has attributed at least 19 deaths to CBP since 2010.

The agency's acting commissioner, Thomas Winkowski, said it agrees with "the spirit and concerns underlying all of the recommendations" in all three reports.

"As implementation of these enhancements continues, CBP will continue to evaluate the use of force program and practices to ensure the safety of our law enforcement personnel and the public with whom we interact," Winkowski said in a statement.

The changes don't address one of the biggest criticisms — policies that allow Border Patrol agents to use deadly force against rock throwers. Eight people have been killed by agents in rock throwing incidents since 2010, according to the ACLU. According the IG report, there were 185 rock assaults in the 2012 budget year, and agents responded with gunfire 12 percent of the time. CBP has defended the policy.

The official told the AP that further changes to use-of-force policy are being considered, but the department will keep agent safety its priority.

Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico's Regional Center for Border Rights, described the policy and training changes as an "important advance ... limited in scope and vision."

"The biggest missing piece here is clear and transparent accountability for officers involved in use-of-force incidents that lead to serious physical injury or death. Without a commitment to end the culture of impunity at CBP, the agency's good first steps will lead nowhere," Gaubeca said.

The official said new trainees will have more training days involving real-life scenarios. The agency is building replica border fences at CBP's training center in Artesia, N.M., and adding training about using nonlethal weapons, including guns that fire beanbags or pepper balls.

The use of dashboard cameras has grown in popularity among local and state law enforcement agencies. Video footage of a confrontation with a suspect can help investigators determine when an officer uses excessive force and protect officers from false allegations.

CBP has cameras along the border and at international ports that have captured deadly encounters between immigrants and CBP agents and officers. That footage is almost never released publicly under an exception to the Freedom of Information Act preventing release of files related to police investigations.

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