Secrecy continues to hide killings by limit agents

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PHOENIX — Six months after earnest larger clarity and burden when a agents use lethal force, Customs and Border Protection continues to onslaught to broach on both counts.

Since 2004, Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed during slightest 46 people, including during slightest 15 Americans, while on duty.

On Friday, CBP’s behaving inner affairs chief, Mark Alan Morgan, in response to a doubt from The Arizona Republic, told reporters he was unknowingly of any representative or officer carrying been trained or consummated in any of those deaths.

A CBP orator pronounced a organisation couldn’t immediately endorse or repudiate Morgan’s statement. But, James Wong, who late in 2011 as CBP’s partner emissary commissioner for inner affairs, alone reliable to The Republic that nothing of a 20 agents or officers who killed people while on avocation from 2008 by 2011 was trained internally or terminated.

Those cases embody unarmed teenagers who were shot in a behind by agents as they fled, agents sharpened by a limit blockade into Mexico, and dual in that unarmed organisation died after agents exceedingly kick them, regularly pepper-sprayed them, or repelled them mixed times with jolt guns.

In December, The Republic reported that no agents or officers had been hold accountable by a Department of Justice or by polite or rapist courts in use-of-force deaths given 2005, even in rarely controversial cases. The Republic examination found that a miss of clarity finished any inner fortify a black hole.

Earlier this year, Customs and Border Protection expelled a rarely vicious examine of a use-of-force practices by a Police Executive Research Forum. CBP fought for 15 months to keep a news secret, releasing it usually after it was leaked to a media.

That examine examined 67 use-of-force incidents and resolved that too many lethal use-of-force cases weren’t pardonable to a reasonable, design observer, and that investigations mostly weren’t consummate or careful.

CBP’s Morgan pronounced Friday that an organisation charge force had finished an initial examination of a 67 cases. He pronounced it identified 14 as wanting serve investigation. Just one of those cases resulted in a death.

But other questions about a examination slight remain.

Changes promised

Over a past dual years, a use of lethal force by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers has drawn increasing open and congressional scrutiny.

Earlier this year — after CBP’s formerly tip use-of-force policies were leaked — Department of Homeland Security expelled a policies.

Under pressure, CBP also announced slight changes to revoke deadly-force incidents. Agents were to equivocate putting themselves in situations where they have no choice to lethal force. And they were to glow during stone throwers usually when they couldn’t take cover and a rocks acted an evident hazard of genocide or critical injury, among other changes.

Since final spring, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske have regularly betrothed larger clarity and burden when agents or officers use lethal force. Morgan’s task-force examination is partial of that process.

To date, however, CBP has not taken stairs that are slight during many state and inner military forces, such as identifying a agents concerned or releasing a outcomes of specific inner investigations. Nor has it expelled a series of complaints filed, or any sum of any cases investigated by inner affairs or a DHS examiner general.

And when agents are sued by victims’ families, CBP and a Department of Justice continue fighting to have a agents’ names kept secret.

“It usually boggles my mind that DHS would censor this information,” pronounced Wong, a late CBP partner emissary commissioner for inner affairs. “We’re not articulate about militant activities or inhabitant security; we’re articulate about things a American open should be wakeful of, should have entrance to. For them to contend we can’t tell we how many people have been investigated for extreme use of force, well, we don’t know a rationale.”

Friday, Morgan reiterated a CBP slight of gripping agents’ names secret, observant there can be vital threats to agents or their families.

CBP didn’t respond to questions submitted alone about why, if agents who are identified are during risk, it cooperates with a National Geographic radio module Border Wars, that customarily reveals agents’ names, faces and where they work.

Names withheld

Agents’ names have turn open in 16 of a use-of-force deaths given 2005. Some were finished open by justice orders in polite suits, others by state and inner military questioning a incidents.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction,” to keep sovereign agents’ names secret, pronounced Kel McClanahan, executive executive of National Security Counselors, an Arlington, Va., law organisation specializing in inhabitant security, leisure of information and remoteness issues.

McClanahan remarkable that Homeland Security and a FBI customarily find to keep all agents’ names from a open — even a names of officers who hoop information requests.

“Rules remove a lot of their effective punch. If we never know what, if anything, is finished to examine a shooting, or to residence any deficiencies in procedures concerned in that shooting, afterwards we have a kind of radical agency,” pronounced Hyde Post, boss of a National Freedom of Information Coalition, that advocates for open government.

Investigations thwarted

In during slightest dual deaths, one in 2010 and one in 2012, investigators for Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General wanted to open investigations yet were overruled by their superiors, according to papers recently performed by The Republic after 22 months of Freedom of Information Act requests and appeals.

In May 2010, an unarmed Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, 42, died after he was beaten and repelled 5 times with a jolt gun by a organisation of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents during a San Ysidro pier of entry, south of San Diego. An Office of Inspector General administrator in San Diego deserted a ask by an examiner to open an investigation.

The box exploded publicly in 2012, when PBS aired dual cellphone videos display Hernandez Rojas fibbing face down on a belligerent with his hands cuffed behind his behind as agents kicked and repelled him. Hernandez Rojas died after being ecstatic to a circuitously hospital. A polite lawsuit opposite a agents concerned is tentative in sovereign justice in San Diego.

In Mar 2012, Alexander Arthur Martin, 24, burnt to genocide after a Border Patrol representative dismissed a jolt gun during him and his automobile exploded. Martin had been pushing a wrong approach on Highway 80 in Pine Valley, Calif. An OIG administrator in San Diego twice deserted requests by an examiner to open an investigation.

The Hernandez Rojas box sparked congressional final in 2012 that CBP residence a use of lethal force by agents and officers. In response, Johnson and Kerlikowske pronounced progressing this year that 67 use-of-force cases had been re-examined. Some of those cases are now underneath examination by a Department of Justice’s civil-rights division, yet conjunction Justice nor CBP would contend how many.

Last month, attorneys for a civil-rights multiplication visited a mark in Nogales, Sonora, where teen Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot 10 times by a limit blockade and killed by a Border Patrol representative in Oct 2012. The visit, initial reported by Nogales International, appears to be one of during slightest 5 investigations being conducted by a civil-rights division.

CBP’s Morgan pronounced Friday that 11 deadly-force cases are underneath examination by Justice or by inner or state authorities.

Policy cited

In disappearing information requests by The Republic, DHS’ examiner ubiquitous cited open investigations by “other entities” into a genocide of Elena Rodriguez and a 4 other victims in cross-border shootings involving purported rock-throwing: Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15, in Juarez, in Jun 2010; Ramses Barron Torres, 17, in Nogales, in Jan 2011; Juan Pablo Perez Santillan, 30, in Matamoros, in Jul 2012; and Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza, 36, in Nuevo Laredo, in Sep 2012.

“Other entities” might be a anxiety to a Department of Justice, that is a usually sovereign entity outward of DHS that would typically examine such cases.

At slightest 4 times in a past 3 years, judges have deserted sovereign efforts to keep agents’ identities tip — many recently, in a sharpened genocide of Elena Rodriguez.

The Border Patrol pronounced a representative who killed a 16-year-old was banishment during stone throwers. Witnesses pronounced Elena Rodriguez was walking down a travel when other youths fled past him as a sharpened began. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a polite censure in Jun on interest of Elena Rodriguez’s mother, fixing “John Doe” agents.

CBP disclosed a name of a representative to a ACLU on condition that it record a nice censure underneath justice seal. But, Wednesday, a U.S. District Court systematic CBP to clear gripping a name underneath seal.

“It is scrupulously really formidable to sign courtroom documents,” pronounced ACLU profession Lee Rowland. “There might be singular cases where a supervision can uncover a fact-based, sold hazard to an officer’s safety; yet CBP doesn’t have a unconditional right to secrete officers’ names formed on deceptive … claims. … That’s all a some-more loyal when officers have been concerned in murdering another tellurian being.”

For his part, late CBP central Wong pronounced cases in that people journey were shot in a behind sojourn a many discouraging to him. “Border Patrol agents would say, ‘They were throwing rocks.’ I’d say, ‘Why didn’t we behind up?’ They’d say, ‘You’ve never been an agent; we don’t know what being rocked is like.’ … I’m not genuine adequate to contend it’s never justified; there are cases where it would be. … But a earthy requirement of using in one instruction and throwing tough adequate behind we to means earthy damage usually … confused me,” he said.

“It was disturbing.”

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