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Tag: Border Patrol

Border Patrol to Test Body Cameras Following Complaints from Activists

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol is beginning to test body cameras following complaints from activists, the Associated Press reports.

The body cameras were purchased and will be tested at Border Patrol’s training academy.

The news came during a meeting with activists who have urged the federal government to use the cameras.

It remained unclear whether the cameras would be introduced to the field.

According to the AP, the National Border Patrol Council likely will oppose the measure.

“We want to make sure these are used to back up agents, not to persecute them,” Shawn Moran, a spokesman for the agent’s union, said. “If they’re used correctly by the agency, they will offer an independent account in use-of-force incidents or any type of incident. We do have concerns management would use them to look for administrative violations.”

LA Times Editorial: Border Patrol Must Take Deadly Shootings More Seriously

By Los Angeles Times
Editorial Board

The new head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s internal affairs office made a troubling assertion late last week. Since 2004, he said, the agency has apparently taken no disciplinary action against any of its agents who have used deadly force.

That follows a report released in February by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, which reviewed 67 shooting incidents by Border Patrol agents from January 2010 to October 2012, 19 of which were fatal, and accused the agency of violating accepted police practices and a “lack of diligence” in investigating agents’ actions.

The American Immigration Council reported in May that of 809 abuse complaints (a broader category) filed from 2009 to 2012, 40% remained unresolved, and in the resolved cases, only 3% found fault with an agent’s actions. Comparative statistics are hard to come by, but a study of 2002 data found that about 8% of complaints against civilian police officers were sustained.

The backlog of cases and the possibility that the agency has been unwilling to discipline its officers led Department of Homeland Security officials in June to replace the internal affairs director, James F. Tomsheck, with an outsider, former L.A. police officer and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Mark Morgan. It was Morgan who told reporters he had yet to find records of disciplinary actions against agents in deadly force cases. While it’s possible that there was no fault to be found, that seems highly unlikely.

It is clear that the agency must respond more quickly to complaints and must be willing to assess the behavior of its employees fairly and objectively when they use their weapons. In one 2012 case, a Border Patrol agent fired across the border into Nogales, Mexico, killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez; the boy, who the Border Patrol says may have been throwing rocks, was struck in the back by at least eight bullets. His family says he was merely walking home after playing basketball. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the family, but so far it has been unsuccessful in getting the agency to publicly identify the officer involved.

To read more click here.

 

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Border Patrol Agent Killed in Car Crash While on Duty in Texas; funeral set for today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A funeral is scheduled today for a Border Patrol agent who was killed in a two-car crash whir on duty near Carrizo Springs, Texas, on Friday, KSAT reports.

Tyler Robledo, a three-year veteran of Border Patrol, was just 34 when he was involved in a head-on collision while on patrol. The other driver also was killed.

“It’s a real small community and to see him, one of the good persons, it’s really hard,” said family friend Martha Esquivel.

“When dealing with things like this, it’s never easy. He’s one of ours whether you know the agent or not. Either way he’s part of our family,” said Jose Gamez, supervisory Border Patrol agent and Del Rio sector commander.

Robledo is survived by his wife and two young children.

CBP, Border Patrol Fail to Deliver on Promise to Be Transparent About Shootings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection pledged to become more transparent and accountable when it comes to agents using deadly force, but the USA Today reports that the agency is struggling to meet that promise.

At least 46 people – 16 of whom were Americans – have been killed by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were on duty.

Then CBP’s acting internal affairs chief, Mark Alan Morgan, told reporters that he doubts any of the agents or officers were were disciplined in the deaths.

The USA Today rattles of a list of suspicious cases, including an unarmed teen shot in the back and agents shooting through a border fence in Mexico.

Despite the existence of a study on the issues, CBP kept it a secret for 15 months before it was leaked to the media.

“It just boggles my mind that DHS would hide this information,” said Wong, the retired CBP assistant deputy commissioner for internal affairs. “We’re not talking about terrorist activities or national security; we’re talking about things the American public should be aware of, should have access to. For them to say we can’t tell you how many people have been investigated for excessive use of force, well, I don’t understand the rationale.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Report: CBP Overspent by Building $680,000 Houses for Border Patrol Agents in Arizona

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection overspent when it built houses for Border Patrol agents in Arizona, an inspector general’s report has found.

The Associated Press reports that CBP spent nearly $700,000 per house in a town where the average home price is less than $90,000.

The investigating found that CBP spent about $17 million on land, 21 houses and 20 mobile homes. The agency overspent by about $4.6 million, the AP wrote.

The average house was $680,000, while the average mobile home cost $118,000 .

Construction was finished in December 2012 as a way to alleviate housing shortages for Border Patrol agents.

“CBP did not effectively plan and manage employee housing in Ajo, Arizona, and made decisions that resulted in additional costs to the federal government,” the report states.

While the CBP agreed with the recommendations, it denied wrongdoing.

“CBP relies on the private housing market to provide housing for its employees, except in a few extreme locations such as Ajo,” the agency said in a statement released by spokesman Jim Burns. “In Ajo, CBP built urgently needed housing for employees in accordance with the approved CBP design standards and the U.S. government guidance to be used by executive agencies concerning construction of federally owned housing for civilians.”

Lawsuit Seeks to Name Border Patrol Agent Who Shot, Killed 16-Year-Old in Nogales

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil rights lawyers are suing federal government to force the disclosure of the name of the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 16-year-old teen in the back.

“This is an extraordinary request by the government and just one more example of how the Border Patrol attempts to shield its unlawful actions from the public. The rule of law demands transparency—that’s all we’re asking for,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s national Immigrants’ Rights Project in a news release.

The body of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was found about 40 feet from the border near the port of entry in Nogales.

Border Patrol said the agent was responding to rock throwers, but a witness disputes that.

CBP has agreed to release the name of the agent, but only if the identity is kept hidden from the public.

“The public interest in knowing the identity of a federal agent sued for the use of deadly force during his official duties is paramount,” attorneys wrote.

Border Patrol: Leave Complicated Immigration Issues Up to Professionals

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Border Patrol is urging the state of Texas and militia members to leave immigration issues to the pros, the Associated Press reports.

The plea comes after the influx of migrants prompted state Gov. Rick Perry to send as many as 1,000 guardsman and hundreds of state troopers to the border. Militia members also took up guard.

Everyone is heavily armed, and coordination is minimal.

The Border Patrol recently had a friendly fire incident involving a militia member.

“Sometimes it can be dangerous, because you have all these (non-law enforcement) people out there running around the border,” said Kevin Oaks, the Border Patrol’s chief in the Rio Grande Valley. “There are cartel members that carry assault weapons and camouflage, and then there’s others that may be under the auspices of whatever group, may look very similar, and we have no idea who those people are. My fear is that these things clash and eventually there will be a very bad outcome.”

Modernized Border Patrol Facility in San Diego to Get $500,000 in Artwork

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A plan to modernize Border Patrol’s busiest facility includes $500,000 for new art in San Diego, the Weekly Standard reports.

The San Ysidro Land Port of entry, which handles traffic between San Diego and the Tijuana region, is undergoing $735 million in upgrades.

The artwork is part of the third phase of the project, which spans more than a decade.

The GSA recently began soliciting contractors, including artists.

The spending is in line with the GSA’s “Art in Architecture” program, which calls for one-half of one percent of construction expenses to be spent on artwork.

The federal government is accepting registration from artists until Oct. 6.

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