The Los Angeles Times obtained an internal review of US Border Patrol’s use-of-force policies, which US Customs and Border Protection has refused to release publicly (members of Congress have seen a summary). While the Times did not offer the report in full, the paper did publish previously unseen snippets that portray a law enforcement agency operating under loose use-of-force standards and little accountability.
The review was completed in February 2013 by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that develops best practices for law enforcement use-of-force policies. It examined sixty-seven use-of-force incidents by federal border agents near the US-Mexico border that resulted in nineteen deaths.
Here are some key findings of the review, revealed by the Times Thursday:
- Border Patrol agents have intentionally and unnecessarily stepped in front of moving cars to justify using deadly force against vehicle occupants.
- Agents have shot in frustration across the US-Mexico border at rock throwers when simply moving away was an option.
- Border Patrol demonstrates a “lack of diligence” in investigating incidents in which US agents fire their weapons.
- It’s questionable whether Border Patrol “consistently and thoroughly reviews” incidents in which agents use deadly force.