Coalición de Derechos Humanos [Tucson, AZ] denounces the most recent shooting of a 16-year-old boy by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The incident, which occurred on October 10th, is the latest in a series of shootings that have raised serious questions as to the use of deadly force by the largest police agency, the U.S. Border Patrol. The community deserves an immediate halt and review of their “use of force” policies, and an independent, objective, and thorough investigation of the incident, which may include the possible prosecution of the Border Patrol agent to stand trial for the murder of this young man.
The October 10th shooting has created yet another international incident, with the U.S. Border Patrol opening fire into Nogales, Sonora, México, hitting a nearby medical office and putting multiple bullets into the body of 16 year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez. As has been typical of recent shootings, the Border Patrol has claimed that the victim was “throwing rocks” and that the agent “feared for his life,” justifying deadly force that could very well have taken more innocent lives. Despite the fact that the alleged rock throwers were across an international boundary line, this agent engaged in shooting indiscriminately across the border without regard for the populated area on the other side, and the possibility of killing or injuring bystanders.
In the last two years, at least four shooting incidents involving alleged “rock throwers” have occurred, and even the tragic and unnecessary shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie illuminates the dangerous policy of indiscriminate and irresponsible use of deadly force. This is not simply a matter of “lack of training,” as the Border Patrol Union has stated-the use of deadly force obviously IS the policy being instilled and employed by agents. Agents have routinely opened fire on individuals without confirming their identity or whether a criminal act was being committed. It is a deplorable and dangerous policy that makes our communities less safe, and terrorizes those who live in communities where Border Patrol agents have been embedded. U.S. Border Patrol agents are not above the law, and to be judge, jury and executioner is absolutely unacceptable and criminal under the law. The U. S Border Patrol has proved to be out of control by any standard of acceptable law enforcement.
Derechos Humanos calls on all people of conscience to join us in denouncing this policy of deadly force, in demanding an objective and independent investigation into the murder of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, and for the prosecution of his murderer to the fullest extent of the law. We must begin to evaluate and assess the consequences of the unprecedented growth of this agency.
Photo credit: El Universal