In case after case involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shooting and killing unarmed people, agents were cleared of wrongdoing by the CBP’s internal affairs department—including in the killings of children and U.S. citizens.
Investigations into 67 shooting incidents, 19 of which were fatal, absolved agents in all but three cases, which are still pending, the LA Times reported on Monday. Only two agents in total were disciplined—with an oral reprimand, the Times wrote.
Even in cases where evidence of criminal misconduct was presented, agents still went free of charges.
One case was that of a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was shot and killed by border patrol after throwing rocks from a border bridge in El Paso, Texas in 2010.
In another, agents shot to death a 19-year-old American citizen as he attempted to climb a fence into Mexico near Douglas, Arizona.
All agents were cleared of wrongdoing in those cases. Meanwhile, the agents involved in the three shooting incidents currently awaiting investigation are still conducting armed patrols along the border.
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Critics say the findings demonstrate how the CBP, like many federal agencies, operates with near-impunity, even as the Obama administration has promised to crack down on the use of excessive force.
“We are deeply disappointed” with the lack of action, Juanita Molina, executive director of Border Action Network, a human rights organization based in Tucson, told the Times. “When you have someone throwing rocks and someone responding with lethal force, it is just not proportional.”
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