Customs Agency Takes No Action Against Agents In 67 Deadly-Force Cases


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency will not take any disciplinary or legal action against Border Patrol agents or officers involved in 67 deadly-force incidents that had been under internal review, Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told the Arizona Republic. The 67 incidents had been identified in 2013 in a scathing report on the agency’s-of-force practices by the Police Executive Research Forum. The report, which the agency commissioned, concluded that the use of deadly force in many incidents wasn’t justifiable and that the agency’s investigations weren’t thorough or careful.

The report didn’t judge individual cases; that was left to an agency task force reporting to Mark Alan Morgan, a former FBI agent serving as acting internal-affairs chief. In September, Morgan said the task force had identified 14 of the 67 cases, including one that led to a death, as needing further review. Kerlikowske said no charges would be brought in those cases, which occurred between January 2010 and October 2012. “They were all before our new use-of-force policies were adopted last year, so we had to abide by the use-of-force policies then in existence to see if those cases were within compliance,” Kerlikowske said. “There were around a half-dozen cases … the ones probably deemed most controversial, that are still within the purview of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, so we couldn’t make a decision one way or another.” James Lyall of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “The fact that we still don’t know anything about any of those incidents, which makes it impossible to know whether further action would be justified or not, speaks to the continuing lack of transparency and accountability within this agency.”

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