U.S. to Pay $1 Million for Border Agents' Role in Violent Death of Undocumented Man

U.S. Border Patrol agents viciously beat Anastacio Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant, to death with batons and tasers. It was filmed by passers-by, and even though the agents tried to grab the cameras, one got by them. The U.S. will now pay Mr. Hernandez's family $1 million.

The United States settled a lawsuit with Hernandez’s estate last month, agreeing to dole out $1 million to his five children and his common-law wife, Maria Puga. The battle could have dragged on for years longer in court, the family’s attorney said, but they were worried President Trump could make Hernandez’s death a political issue amid efforts to beef up border security.

Still, none of the agents involved have been fired or disciplined or “lost a dime of pay,” for a beating that broke five of Hernandez’s ribs, damaged his spine and ultimately killed him, according to Eugene Iredale, the family’s attorney, who claims the immigrant was handcuffed as he was beaten.

“In 90 minutes, this case exemplifies the range of deficiency and misconduct that typifies the action of law enforcement that handles immigration enforcement,” Iredale told The Washington Post. “These agents are doing this in front of G-d and the world.”

Here is the Justice Department press release from 2015 with a bizarrely different version of the facts explaining why the officers aren't being charged. Here's what the other groups found: [More...]

One legal team member, the Associate Director of UC Berekley's International Human Rights Law Clinic, said:

The case of Anastasio is incredibly significant because it pierced the credibility shield of CBP, who for nearly a century has operated with near total impunity. The video in that case was the first to expose the lies told by CBP. The agency asked us to believe them when they told us that the use of force that ended Anastasio’s life was necessary to subdue an out-of-control Anastasio. But the video shows us the truth: it shows us out-of-control agents who are torturing, electrocuting, and beating a man who is hogtied and face down on the ground. This video was the tip of the spear that cracked open CBP, leading to agency-wide investigations, a new use-of-force policy, leadership transitions, and the testing of body-worn cameras.“

It's time to hold these and other border patrol agents accountable for their crimes.

Since 2010, 46 people have been killed by border agents by use-of-force and coercion. Many more have been brutally beaten. While a few agents have faced charges, like Lonnie Swartz who shot and killed 16 year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, no agent has been held accountable since January 2010, even in some of the most egregious cases. These types of numbers further allude to CBP’s corrupt culture of violence and impunity, which represents a systemic failure within the agency; and the disregard for the preservation of human life.

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