Border Patrol Use of Force Questioned in Report They Tried to Keep from Congress


Los Angeles Times gets its hands on an investigation into border patrol practices by the Police Executive Research Forum, a "nonprofit research and policy organization in Washington that works closely with law enforcement agencies" that was "allowed to examine internal Border Patrol case files on 67 shooting incidents from January 2010 to October 2012."

Some findings from the Times:

roberthuffstutter / Foter / CC BY-NC

Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths.

The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.

And our brave border protectors wanted to make sure we, or our elected representatives, never found out:

House and Senate oversight committees requested copies last fall but received only a summary that omitted the most controversial findings — that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them.

The Times obtained the full report and the agency's internal response, which runs 23 pages. The response rejects the two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless its occupants are trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury….

Mexican authorities have complained for years that U.S. border agents who kill Mexicans are rarely disciplined and that the results of investigations are not made public for years.

J.D. Tuccille blogged earlier today on Arizonans attempts to rid themselves of an internal "border checkpoint."

Just a thought: we could cut a vast number of the reasons any of these confrontations happen in the first place with saner drug laws and saner paths for the legal ability to work in this country.