"The full Fifth Circuit on Friday ruled that the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican teenager standing in Mexico from across the U.S. border in Texas had qualified immunity and could not be sued by the teen’s family under the Fourth or Fifth amendments.
The court partially reversed a divided panel’s June 2014 in a series of cases against Agent Jesus Mesa Jr., his supervisors and the U.S. government filed by the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca accusing them of assault, negligence and use of excessive force.
A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fatally shot a Juárez teenager standing on Mexican soil in 2010.
Today the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a U.S. Border Patrol agent could not have reasonably known that it was wrong to shoot and kill an unarmed, unthreatening Mexican teenager who was standing just across the border in Mexico.
San Diego — A federal lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a Mexican immigrant accused of throwing rocks at a Border Patrol agent is going after not only the agent who pulled the trigger, but some of the agency’s highest-ranking officials at the time, alleging they failed to address excessive force concerns over such “rocking” incidents along the border.
The use-of-force issue has generated a firestorm of public opinion in recent years. Civil rights advocates, Mexico’s government and a law enforcement research group have urged the Border Patrol to refrain from lethal force when faced with rock throwers, while agents in the field contend they need to protect themselves in what is often a dangerous job.
Before 16 federal appellate judges for the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Steve Shadowen argued today an issue of first impression: whether the Constitution's fundamental right to live extends to a non-citizen standing in Mexico who was unjustifiably shot and killed by a U.S. border patrol agent. "If there ever was a case that calls out for practical and functional judicial review of executive U.S. conduct, this is that case," Mr. Shadowen argued. "There is no legal black hole on the Border.”
A Times investigation — based on the Border Patrol's Use of Force report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Mexican autopsy and police records, court documents and interviews with four witnesses — raises questions about whether the agent who fired from the boat overstated the threat from shore, and whether the shooting was justified.
Robert Hilliard, a lawyer in Corpus Christi, Texas, who represents Arevalo's widow, said the Border Patrol needed to be held accountable for killing an unarmed man in a crowded park. "Firing an automatic weapon on a group where children are also playing is their first option?" he asked.