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Anniversary of Death Marks No Change in Border Patrol Brutality

Anniversary of Death Marks No Change in Border Patrol Brutality

The story starts in May 2010, when Anastasio Hernandez Rojas attempted to enter the United States at the border near San Diego. When he was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection Agents, Hernandez Rojas’ story became tragic. After he was tied up, about a dozen officers surrounded the lone man and proceeded to tase and beat him. He died in the hospital attached to breathing tubes just days later.

The initial brutality and death did not garner much media attention in May 2010 and joined the ranks of many other stories of brutality that were not fated to receive the nationwide attention they deserved. But eyewitness footage has just been unearthed by PBS that reveals untold aspects of Hernandez Rojas’ death.

Two videos surfaced. One video contains the cries from the victim as he screams for help. The grainy footage of the other, even more shocking video, reveals a sole Hernandez Rojas lying on the ground as about a dozen officers congregate around his prone form to “subdue” him. The video also reveals the moment an officer leans over the man’s body and proceeds to tase his hogtied form.

The death was originally categorized as a “homocide” and the ultimate cause of death was stated as a heart attack. No officers were investigated for the death of Hernandez Rojas, most likely because, as part of the Department of Homeland Security, these officers face less scrutiny for their actions.

Eyewitnesses maintain that Hernandez Rojas presented no threat to the officers as they proceeded to attack him. Images of the victim after his apprehension show his bruised and beaten body, attached to breathing tubes in the hospital. And it seems quite eerie that 10 to 12 officers were required to subdue a solitary man with no weapons or defenses.

The videos come on the heels of increasing unease with police brutality and abuse practiced by border patrol agents across the country. An immigrant advocacy group in Seattle filed a formal complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice this week for bringing in border patrol agents to monitor routine checks where no reinforcement or brutality was necessary, according to the Huffington Post. Hernandez Rojas’ case, and the accompanying videos, only add fuel to a growing campaign to demand justice for victims.

Nine cities hosted events this week to mark the anniversary of Hernandez Rojas’ death. The marches and vigils were meant to call attention to the case and to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice continue to investigate the man’s death and bring those responsible to justice. These events are also part of a larger push to demand justice for victims of border patrol violence. The victim’s widow has been fighting for recognition of the brutality visited on her husband that night for the last two years. He was a human being, a father of five children and eyewitnesses continue to maintain that he put up no resistance to the brutality.

At least eight people have been killed by federal border agents over the last two years, including two people in Mexico. The recent PBS documentary and the striking footage that it reveals highlights the brutal and dark side of border patrol practices and demands that we take a closer look at the inhumane decisions of individuals who face no consequences for their actions.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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43 comments

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10:52AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

There is NO justification to treating Anyone the way Mr Rojas was treated... From start to finish he was abused..and then murdered.. 12 against 1...?!! Wow that poor father of 5 must have been some threat.. I think the border agents who did this,even the ones who stood there and watched their fellow agents are bullies & cowards and will live with their shameful actions the rest of their lives.... We always have choices. This should never happen again!!

10:48AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

There is NO justification to treating Anyone the way Mr Rojas was treated... From start to finish he was abused..and then murdered.. 12 against 1...?!! Wow that poor father of 5 must have been some threat.. I think the border agents who did this,even the ones who stood there and watched their fellow agents are bullies & cowards and will live with their shameful actions the rest of their lives.... We always have choices. This should never happen again!!

6:07AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thanks for the article.

1:40PM PDT on May 7, 2012

We,Americans,are SICK OF THE MEXICIAN INVASION! Obama is not protecting our borders. DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA!

6:42AM PDT on May 7, 2012

very sad.... and disgusting that those in charge of this department don't seem to care that this is happening.

3:48AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Nimue P. Typing o instead of i is a common fault when typing quickly. Don't be so quick to pick at people as you may me next to do a typo!

8:06PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Disgusting. And so is the way you spelled "homocide" - I assume you meant "homicide"; remember that spelling a word wrong changes it's meaning.

3:18PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Allie Y. Border Patrol in Arizona are spend each day just driving around, the transfer buses are empty, just as they have been for months.

It is like a scene out of A Day Without Mexicans, some the BP will be on the border offering free rides, taking bus loads to Taco Bell and then turn them loose so the have someone to arrest.

1:32PM PDT on May 6, 2012

noted

12:04PM PDT on May 6, 2012

There is absolutely no border patrol brutality. You get these folks that don't speak but 2 words of English and when ordered to get down by police that doesn't translate to attack law enforcement.

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