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Posted Sep 17, 2013, 3:52 pm
An inspector general's report released Tuesday showed that the Customs and Border Protection has not tracked allegations of excessive force by border agents, and that many agents did not understand policies on using force — including deadly force.
The report was requested by 16 members of Congress in the wake of the a 2012 death of a Mexican man in the custody of border agents. Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, 42, died after being beaten and tasered by agents in an incident that was captured on camera by eyewitnesses.
At least 18 others have died while in CBP custody since January 2010.
The report by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security said that CBP had no way to track complaints of excessive force. Investigators were unable to determine the number of such allegations, the report said.
According to the report, a 2012 internal investigation by CBP "observed that many agents and officers do not understand use of force and the extent to which they may or may not use force."
Redacted in the report were portions relating to that audit.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva said the many blacked-out sections of the report were "deeply disturbing," and that he had expected a more extensive report than the 43-page document that was released.
The Border Patrol and other CBP agencies should look at "best practices from other agencies to reduce use-of-force incidents, like body-worn cameras for officers," said Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico's Regional Center for Border Rights.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.