June 27, 2010

Am I Not Human? US/Mexico Border Killings

We support the 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign that lights up on the 27th of each month. I encourage all villagers to find a way to support this effort to shine a light on human rights abuses taking place all over the world.

This blog tracks taser-related deaths. One of these killings occurred at the US/Mexico border near San Diego. It turns out that these border killings are more frequent than I imagined.

As a result, this blog joins with Human Rights Watch, American Civil Rights Union and others in calling for the US government to conduct a prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation of the recent killings of two Mexican citizens by US border agents. The increasing number of episodes in which migrants are killed or wounded by border agents, raises grave concerns about possible unlawful use of lethal force.

Border control agents shot and killed Adrian Hernandez, 15, on the evening of June 7, 2010, at a railroad bridge connecting Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with El Paso, Texas, after rock-throwing migrants confronted agents during an arrest. In a separate incident, Anastacio Hernandez Rojas died on May 31 after being electrocuted by border control agents on May 28 with a taser gun at the San Ysidro border crossing.

"The increasing number of border patrol killings make it clear that an open and thorough US investigation is needed," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "Any border agents found responsible for using excessive force should be held accountable."
According to the Mexican government, the number of incidents in which Mexicans were killed or wounded by border patrol has increased significantly in the past three years. Five Mexicans were killed or wounded in 2008 by the border patrol. The total in 2009 was 12, and there have been 17 incidents already in 2010.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a statement that in the June 7 incident, agents encountered a group of suspected illegal immigrants entering the United States and arrested two of them. The others fled across the border and began throwing rocks at the agents. One agent fired several shots, killing Adrian Hernandez. The victim's family says that he was not involved in the rock throwing and had not crossed the border.

In the earlier incident, the San Diego police said that Hernandez Rojas, 42, attacked the border patrol agents as they prepared to return him to Mexico. One agent allegedly struck Hernandez Rojas with a baton, and then another agent electrocuted him with a taser gun. Hernandez Rojas stopped breathing and showed no pulse. He was taken off life support three days later. Hernandez Rojas reportedly had been in the United States since the age of 14. He had been deported after a traffic violation, returned to the United States and was rearrested on the afternoon of May 28.

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provide that authorities shall, as far as possible, apply nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. The Basic Principles provide that if the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, then the authorities must use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. Lethal force may be used only when strictly unavoidable to protect life. The Basic Principles also call for an effective reporting and review process, especially in cases of death and serious injury.


SoakingNKnowledge said...

the lack of respect for humanity by humanity is sad...thankful that there so many willing to hold up the mirror for us to take a look ourselves

Bohemian Chick said...

The Border Patrol agents are out of control and should definitely be held accountable. Murdering alleged illegal immigrants is not the answer.

We are a team of writers, journalists and analysts from three continents, said...

The discussion about tasers is only just starting in Germany - maybe because it is not used very often. The tenor still is that the taser is a harmless, violence and injuries avoiding weapon. Nobody speaks about the deaths of so many people. This post about a You-tube-article - taken from Der Spiegel, the biggest political paper and network over here - I just found along with this older one from german/french Culture-network ARTE.
Keep up the good work, Wayne!
Love and peace from Berlin



Villager said...

Marenda & Bohemian Chick - I'm very glad that you're both participating in this monthly meme against human rights abuses. I look forward to what you'll have to post on 7/27/2010!

Etta - I appreciate your support in our efforts to shine a light on taser-related killings. Thank you for the YouTube links.