U.S. Customs and Border Protection has removed its head of internal affairs and called for a review of procedures involving the use of force after a wave of shooting deaths of unarmed civilians and hundreds of complaints of abuse by armed agents, McClatchy Newspapers reports. James Tomscheck, who had run the internal affairs division since 2006, was responsible for background investigations for new agents, reviews of misconduct allegations and the detection of corruption in the largest federal law enforcement agency. The agency includes both Border Patrol agents and the Customs officers who man crossing points into the country.
Tomscheck had expanded and restructured the office. Obama administration officials grew concerned over his unit's failure to complete investigations into scores of cases that had been brought to light by McClatchy and other news organizations, including allegations of sexual abuse and the use of excessive force by border agents. The high profile firing comes less than two weeks after U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief who assumed the post in March, called for greater transparency in the agency and released a previously secret report that documented agents' widespread misuse of firearms. The dismissal seemed to signal a tougher line on abuse by agents along the border.