clear
Tuesday September 1st, 2015 8:24PM

Border Patrol rejects curbs on force

By The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Border Patrol agents may continue using deadly force against rock-throwers, the chief of the agency said, despite the recommendation of a government-commissioned review to end the practice.

The Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group that advises law enforcement agencies, recommended that the Border Patrol and its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, stop the use of deadly force against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles, Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher said.

Both recommendations were part of a broader internal review of CBP's use-of-force policies and practices that began last year. The measures were not included in a revised policy announced on Sept. 25 that calls for more training and better record-keeping.

CBP considered the proposed curbs "very restrictive," Fisher told The Associated Press.

Under current policy, agents can use deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives or the lives of others are in danger.

"We shouldn't have carve-outs in our policy and say, except for this, except for that," Fisher said. "Just to say that you shouldn't shoot at rock-throwers or vehicles for us, in our environment, was very problematic and could potentially put Border Patrol agents in danger."

CBP has not released the full findings of the Police Executive Research Forum. Fisher's comments are the most publicly detailed about them.

The internal review began last year after 16 members of Congress raised concern about the May 2010 killing of Anastasio Hernandez, an unarmed Mexican who died from stun gun wounds at San Diego's San Ysidro port of entry. Authorities have said he was being combative while being returned to Mexico. The Justice Department is investigating that killing.

Hernandez was one of 20 people killed by CBP officials since 2010, including eight who died in rock-throwing incidents with Border Patrol agents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Fisher repeated the agency's long-standing position that rocks are lethal weapons. Smugglers have long pelted agents with rocks, bottles and other objects - often from Mexico - hoping to create an opening elsewhere along the border when agents rush to assist colleagues being pelted.

Agents were attacked with rocks 339 times in the 2011 fiscal year, more than any other type of assault, according to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general. They responded with gunfire 33 times and with less-than-lethal force - a category that includes pepper spray and batons - 118 times.

Rock attacks fell to 185 in the 2012 fiscal year, the second most common type of assault. Agents fired a gun 22 times and responded 42 times with less-than-lethal force.

The proposed ban on firing at vehicles would have brought the Border Patrol in line with some metropolitan police departments, Fisher said. But he pointed out that the federal agency operates in much different terrain.

"You don't want to just start shooting indiscriminately at a vehicle and try to blow out tires like they do on TV, but our environment is totally different," Fisher said. "In many cases, unlike a concrete jungle, you have a very narrow trail and the Border Patrol agent doesn't always have the ability to get out of the way."

Activists were disappointed that CBP rejected the recommendations.

"We've long held that deadly force should be limited to the most exceptional circumstances," said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, who attended a meeting with Obama administration officials at the White House in September that covered the topic.

"The Border Patrol has yet to demonstrate that that's the appropriate level of force in the cases that have happened," Guerrero said.

Shawn Moran, spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol officers, welcomed the agency's position.

"Almost every Border Patrol agent has been rocked at one point or another," Moran said. "I know agents here that have had vehicles accelerate toward them, attempt to run them down."

Fisher rejected any suggestion that Border Patrol agents were trigger-happy.

"When you look at that environment, that workspace, I think our agents show a great deal of restraint when it comes to use of deadly force," he said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Thousands without power after monsoon storm hits Phoenix area, damages buildings, cars
PHOENIX (AP) — Thousands of Phoenix-area residents and businesses, including a food bank, remained without power a day after a monsoon storm knocked down trees, damaged buildings and toppled a tractor...
7:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
In Alaska wilderness, Obama stares down melting glacier to sound alarm on climate change
SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama stared down a melting glacier in Alaska on Tuesday in a dramatic use of his presidential pulpit to sound the alarm on climate change.From a distance, Exit...
6:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: GOP nominee for governor supports clerk's refusal to issue gay marriage license
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — The latest on a Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her (all times local):6 p.m.Kentucky's Republican nomi...
6:05PM ( 2 hours ago )
US, global stocks fall sharply; Dow down 469 at close
NEW YORK (AP) — Markets are turning turbulent again after investors were unnerved by more signs of weakness in China, the world's second-largest economy.U.S. stocks sank 3 percent Tuesday, their third...
4:40PM ( 3 hours ago )
Clinton, aides stressed need to protect sensitive State Department information in email
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State Department were acutely aware of — and occasionally frustrated by — the need to protect sensitive information when discussing intern...
2:56PM ( 5 hours ago )