by: Carrie Johnson
Two months ago, James Tomsheck was pushed out of his job as internal affairs chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
At the time, authorities criticized him for not doing enough to investigate abuse and corruption.
But now Tomsheck tells a very different story: about a culture that goes out of its way to evade legal restraints.
Use of force by law enforcement agents along the Southwest border has drawn attention and criticism recently, after reports that Border Patrol agents shot and killed unarmed migrants and faced no consequences.
Since 2010, 28 people have been killed by agents and officers. Tomsheck says he believes about a quarter of the incidents are highly suspicious.
H&S and its affiliate HMG filed suit on behalf
of the family of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza who died on September 3, 2012 on the
border between Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and Laredo, Texas. Mr. Arevalo was shot by
US Border Patrol agents from a boat on the Rio Grande River. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Arevalo was
barbecuing with his family at Nuevo Laredo Park on the sandy banks of the
Mexican side of the border. He was left
to die in the arms of his young daughter as the gunmen who opened fire into the
crowd of picnickers fled the scene.
The new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he is reviewing scores of incidents in which agents have used deadly force.
He provides his first extensive interview regarding the agency's use of force policy and criticisms of a culture of secrecy.
"I can promise you on these cases involving force and the reviews that are going on that we will be following through," Kerlikowske says. "I'll be examining these with a group of people here in CBP, leadership within the Border Patrol and others that are just as absolutely concerned as I am at getting things resolved.
Click HERE to listen to NPR's interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.
NPR | by John Burnett, July 1, 2014
The appeals court ruled that the teenager shot and killed on U.S. soil can claim constitutional protection. The ruling reverses part of a lower court decision in a lawsuit filed by the boy's family.
Bob Hilliard and Steve Shadowen, principals at Texas law firm Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales LLP, and Hilliard Shadowen, LLP win a historic civil rights victory for the family of a 15-year-old boy killed by United States Border Patrol agents in El Paso. In a ruling today by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the court rejected the Border Patrol’s claim of immunity for its agents who fired the fatal shots across the border into Mexico.
Bowing to pressure from Congress, human rights organizations, and human rights litigation (including from Hilliard & Shadowen), the U.S. Border Patrol recently announced that it has amended its use-of-force policy to prohibit treating alleged rock-throwing as per se lethal force in response to which agents could shoot to kill.