In rural Arizona, a border agent shot at and missed a migrant who had cocked his arm to throw a rock. At a California border station, a man died after being hit with a Taser three times. Neither time did agents violate Customs and Border Protection policy, said a board set up this year to provide accountability and oversight for how agents deploy force in their often dangerous border confrontations. The board has considered eight cases, and it has cleared agents each time, reports the Los Angeles Times. The latest four case reviews, released last week, show the challenges for an agency struggling to overhaul its practices after a string of alleged abuses, including high-profile cross-border shootings.
The board’s creation was the latest step in a four-year effort to modernize policing standards at Customs and Border Protection, particularly in the Border Patrol, with its rough-edged, military-style culture. Civil rights advocates who work on border policy say they are disappointed in the reviews. One was disturbed that the board cleared the Arizona shooting; others have said the Border Patrol essentially sanctioned agents firing their weapons instead of retreating in response to rocks. “[ItThat certainly raises a whole lot of alarms in our minds,” said Christian Ramirez of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “[It] seems to counter what law enforcement experts have already established — using a firearm against a rock-thrower should not be within policy.”