Criticism over Border Patrol’s deadly force policy - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Criticism over Border Patrol’s deadly force policy

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The U.S. Border Patrol chief released a portion of what has been its secretive use of force guidelines amid a critical report on how agents investigate shootings and use of force tactics.

On Friday, Chief Michael Fisher issued a memo clarifying current use of force and tactic policies involving moving vehicles and rock throwers.

A report by the non-profit Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has been public for months but the Los Angeles Times obtained the entire report without redactions through a leak.

The L.A. Times reports the independent review found agents would throw themselves in front of moving vehicles to justify a shooting or would shoot rock throwers out of frustration.

"They are putting a lot of people in jeopardy. Not only the driver of the car but they hit the car and the driver flips over, there may be other people around," said Enrique Morones.

He is the founder of the border rights group Border Angels and doesn't want undocumented migrants to throw rocks or use dangerous force when crossing the border but also wants agents to have better training.

The Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council believes PERF misinterpreted its use of force tactics.

"No agent is going to purposely put themselves in front of a vehicle or close the distance in front of a rock thrower just to use deadly force," said NBPC Vice Pres. Shawn Moran.

Last month a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a rock thrower who was a Mexican National and entered the country illegally in the White Cross area of Otay Mountain Range.

In November, cell phone video captured an organized group of Mexican Nationals mob the San Ysidro Port of Entry attacking agents with rocks and water bottles. Agents fought back with non-lethal force, using pepper ball guns.

"It could have gotten out of hand and I've seen the Border Patrol act inappropriately and I've seen them act appropriately," said Morones.

In the leaked report the L.A. Times reports PERF looked at 67 shootings from 2010 to 2012 and 19 resulted in the death.

Chief Fisher issued a memo reminding agents of its use of force police saying unless an agent feels threatened, they should avoid shooting their gun at moving vehicles and rock throwers depending on the size of the rock or object.

"If the agent feels like they're in danger and they may be killed or grievously injured they have the right to use deadly force and nothing Border Patrol put out today changes that," said Moran.

The NBPC president says any changes to the Border Patrol use of force policy would need NBP Council approval and members do not plan to change itt.

The Mexican Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora issued a statement:

"The publication of the directive on the use of tactics and techniques of the Border Patrol as well as the policies on the use of force on the border released today by the DHS, CBP and ICE is a step towards transparency and a signal of openness that we welcome. The Government of Mexico is carefully analyzing the documents published today with enormous interest and we reaffirm our commitment to work with the Department of Homeland Security as well as all other agencies in charge of border control operations which are so essential for both our nations."

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