A critical report on use of force was released on Friday by US Border Patrol Agency. The report was commissioned after complaints were received about the agents using excessive force. The new commissioner said that the release of this critical report is a step to show commitment towards transparency.
Findings from the Police Executive Research Forum, PERF, a non-profit organization that provides advice to law enforcement agencies, showed that some agents were suspected of intentionally creating opportunities to shoot deadly bullet at fleeing assailants by placing themselves in their escape route. After placing themselves securely on the assailants escape route, the agents could use the questionable rock throwers across the Mexican border, considering that the attackers are using projectiles. This is a sign of excessive force in this military operation that only provoked complaints.
Before making its findings, PERF disclosed that it reviewed over 67 files on excessive use of deadly force and related cases dating back to January 2010. In its findings in the 2 of the 67 cases reviewed, PERF realized that CBP had taken ‘administrative action’ against its workers. However, Michael Friel, the Spokesman said that disciplinary action has never been taken in the 55 finished cases while internal investigations are still undergoing in remaining 10 cases. This opens floodgates of doubt in knowing who is disclosing the truth.
Interestingly, the report did not address specific cases. However, in the report, it is disclosed that some agents, out of frustration, could fire at vehicles. The release of the report came with revised guidelines on the use of force. The revised guidelines prohibit firing at moving vehicles by agents unless the agent reads signs of imminent danger, physical injury and/or death. The guidelines require that agents avoid standing before moving vehicles lest they face the wrath of rock throwers. Instead, they should take shield from the rock throwers by keeping secure distance.
Interestingly, the agency on Customs and Border Protection refrained from publishing the report since its completion in February 2013. According to R. Gil Kerlikowske, internal debate on whether the report should be made public, were underway. Kerlikowske said that the difference in opinion between the debaters prevented the release of this report even though it was complete in February.
Interesting, the Los Angeles Times had disclosed the content of this report back in February but the agency kept mum about it. Recently efforts to demand the release of this report were witnessed when the San Diego affiliate of American Civil Liberties Union brought a case before the federal court.
The release of this report gave victory to the immigration activists who had met with Kerlikowske last Tuesday with the primary objective of compelling him to release the report. According to Christian Ramirez, this release was a great mile stone to the otherwise strained relationship between the civil society and the Custom and Border Protection, CBP. Christian Ramirez is the chairman of Southern Boarder Communities Coalition, SCBC.