By Andrew Becker / March 4, 2016
U.S. Border Patrol agents had “an astonishing pattern” of shooting people who threw rocks at them under a vague use-of-force policy that led to the “highly predictable” death of a man along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, according to a law enforcement expert witness’ review of a fatal shooting.
In a report completed this week, a former Baltimore police commissioner and Justice Department official found a Border Patrol policy allowing agents to shoot their firearms based on the threat of a thrown object “highly suspect.”
“Virtually all thrown objects fail to meet the ‘Imminent Peril’ standard to justify use of deadly force, and in such circumstances, officers are trained to take evasive or defensive action, not escalate the encounter with gunfire,” Thomas Frazier wrote in his report, a copy of which was shared with Reveal. “In my experience I have never heard of, and do not know of, any law enforcement agency that considers a thrown projectile as per se ‘Deadly Force.' ”
These are among the findings that have come tumbling out in a federal lawsuit brought by the family of José Alfredo Yañez Reyes, who was killed by Border Patrol Agent Dorian Diaz in June 2011 after he and another man tried to flee from agents into Mexico.