Customs & Border Protection moving towards use of body cameras

Discussion in 'Border Controls, Customs and Immigration' started by Mike, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Pretty amazing -- I was expecting this agency to end up being drug kicking & screaming into the 21 century, but it appears that it might happen with a lot less drama. The OIG investigation and subsequent internal audit were a direct result of the beating death of Anastacio Hernandez Rojas and the subsequent public backlash.

    Washington Times: Video may record border agents’ actions as complaints rise (Sept 25 2013)

    The federal agency that oversees the U.S. borders said Wednesday it will begin testing the use of video cameras, possibly on agents’ and officers’ uniforms, as the Obama administration tries to get a handle on complaints about excessive use of force.

    In a two-page white paper, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the video cameras, along with other technology and a new incident reporting system, not only will reduce the number of incidents where force is used, but also protect officers and agents from false accusations.

    “CBP is committed to ensuring that the use of force by our agents and officers, who put their lives on the line every day, is appropriate and consistent with applicable laws, agency standards and procedures,” acting agency Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said in a statement touting the new rules.
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Investigative Fund: Border Patrol Probe Confirms Excessive Use of Force (Sept 25 2013)

    Last week the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General released a much anticipated (well, at least by us) report on use of force by Customs and Border Protection — a review sparked by an Investigative Fund project. And though the report's language is mild, it contained some pretty startling findings. Yesterday Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it had completed its own internal audit, which confirmed many of the IG's findings.


    Some background: In May 2010, undocumented immigrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a longtime San Diego resident and father of five, died after being assaulted by Border Patrol officers. The San Diego coroner ruled his death a homicide, but the agents claimed that Hernandez was resisting at the time, and no charges were filed. A year and a half later, Investigative Fund reporter John Carlos Frey launched a probe into Hernandez's death, and partnered with PBS's Need to Know to track down eye-witnesses and video that proved Hernandez was prone, cuffed wrist and ankle, when the agents beat and tased him to death. Members of Congress called foul, the Department of Justice launched an investigation, and DHS's Inspector General went to work. Meanwhile, Frey continued to uncover a pattern of physical abuse and suspicious deaths of migrants at the hands of US border agents for stories on Need to Know and in The Washington Monthly.


    The OIG investigation, a vindication for the Hernandez family, reveals for the first time how CBP addresses use of force, and exposes a disturbing lack of oversight. For starters, the IG found that current system of logging CBP complaints doesn't even flag incidents that involve the excessive use of force, spurring the IG to recommend the obvious — implementation of "a method to identify excessive force allegations in its case management system." (That the agency is only now taking steps to implement such a system, given that CBP has become the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, is pretty outrageous.)


    Still, even with missing information, the OIG was able to identify 1,187 instances of potential excessive use of force by border agents between 2007 and 2012, plus 504 more potential cases where information was too incomplete to draw any conclusions. This is the first time such information has been made available to the public.


    According to its findings, 98 percent of CBP's use of force incidents occurred along the Mexico border; 7 percent involved the discharge of a firearm. The remaining incidents involved the use of tasers and other "nonlethal" force (though tasers turned out to be quite lethal in the Hernandez case).
     
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

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