Update on the Murder of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas & Increasing Public Awareness of Border Patrol Violence

PBS Need to Know Web Exclusive:   Grand jury to investigate death at the border (July 20 2012)

Watch Web exclusive: Interview with Andrea Guerrero on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

In May, 2010, a grainy cellphone video captured an eyewitness account of US Customs and Border Protection officers beating Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, an undocumented immigrant who lived and worked in San Diego.

The footage shows Hernandez Rojas on the ground, handcuffed and surrounded by more than a dozen officers who punched, kicked and shocked the Mexican-born father of five with a Taser. Hernandez Rojas can be heard in the background of one video begging for mercy.

Hernandez Rojas succumbed to his injuries a few days later, dying under circumstances the San Diego coroner classified as “homicide.” Despite witnesses who pointed to alleged abuse by Border Patrol, an investigation by San Diego police resulted in no indictments against any of the officers involved.

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Grand Jury

KPBS:  Grand Jury Probes Anastasio Hernandez Border Death (July 12 2012)

A federal grand jury is investigating the death of an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was shot by U.S. border authorities with a stun gun, a move that suggests the government is considering criminal charges after more than two years of silence on the politically charged case.

Eugene Iredale, an attorney representing the family of victim Anastasio Hernandez, told The Associated Press Wednesday that attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division have been presenting evidence to the grand jury.

A person other than Iredale who is close to the Hernandez family said two eyewitnesses to the incident have been called to testify Thursday in San Diego.

San Diego Union Tribune:   Federal Grand Jury May Be Probing Taser Death:  Undocumented immigrant died in 2010 after he was beaten, had stun gun used on him in custody (July 12 2012)

Sources are hearing that a federal grand jury in San Diego is investigating the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, an undocumented immigrant who was beaten and tased by border officials in 2010 at the San Ysidro border crossing.

Hernandez Rojas, 42, had been deported after living in the Encanto area for more than two decades and was trying to return to San Diego when the Border Patrol apprehended him. Border agents were returning him to Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry when the tasing occurred.

Customs and Border Protection officials have said Hernandez Rojas was combative, a description disputed by witnesses who shot cellphone video of the incident. Those witnesses said Hernandez Rojas, while hog-tied, screamed for help while he lay on the ground surrounded by more than a dozen officers and agents before he was tased several times.

10 News:   Federal Grand Jury Probes Border Death:  Anastasio Hernandez Died After He Was Shot With Stun Gun Multiple Times In May 2010 (July 11 2012)

The widow of an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was shot with a stun gun by U.S. border officials is welcoming a federal grand jury investigation into her husband’s death.

“I am pleased with the announcement. I had no idea this was going to occur,” Maria Puga, 41, said Thursday at a news conference. “We’ve been asking from the very beginning justice for my family, we’ve been asking the government for justice.” The U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division has been presenting evidence to a grand jury on the 2010 death of Anastasio Hernandez, family attorney Eugene Iredale told The Associated Press.

The Investigative Fund:  Investigative Fund Story Sparks Grand Jury Probe  (July 12 2012)

As a result of an Investigative Fund/PBS investigation into the death of San Diego resident Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a grand jury is convening today to consider possible criminal charges against US federal agents involved in the incident, according to the Associated Press.

The segment aired on April 20, 2012 on the PBS show Need to Know. At its center was new video footage of Hernandez Rojas, an undocumented immigrant, parent, and construction worker who had been caught by US Border Patrol in May 2010. The grainy video showed him lying on the ground, handcuffed, while more than a dozen US Border agents surrounded Hernandez Rojas. They punched, kicked and used a Taser on him for almost 30 minutes. The agent tasing him repeatedly shouted, “Quit resisting,” even though Hernandez Rojas was restrained and prone on the ground. In one of the videos, he can be heard begging for help. Three days later, Hernandez Rojas died.

Fronteras:  Family: Grand Jury Investigating Death Of Immigrant (July 13 2012)

An attorney for the family of a man who died after an encounter with San Diego border agents said a federal grand jury has been called to investigate the incident.

The family of 42-year-old Mexican immigrant Anastasio Hernández Rojas has been calling for a federal investigation since Rojas’s death two years ago.

He died in May of 2010 after he was tazed multiple times by border agents who were deporting him. The agents said they used a stun gun because Rojas was combative.

Recently, a witness’s video emerged that appears to show Rojas lying motionless on the ground as he’s being stunned. Humberto Navarrete, who shot the video, told the Associated Press he was called to testify at the grand jury.

Fox 5 San Diego:  Grand jury investigates death of Border Patrol detainee (July 13 2012)

A federal grand jury is investigating the death of a Mexican man who died of a heart attack in 2010 after being shot with stun gun by US Border Patrol agents while being deported at the San Ysidro border crossing.

Cell phone video from eyewitnesses, which recently aired on PBS, show’s Anastacio Hernández-Rojas on the ground, surrounded by at least a dozen agents.

According to the San Diego Medical Examiner’s report, Hernández was acting “agitated and confrontational” prior to the incident. But critics say Hernández’s death was a result of abuse of force by the US Border Patrol.

Now, two years after the incident, a grand jury is looking into the case, which could lead to criminal charges being filed against the federal agency.

Fox News Latino:  Family of Border Patrol victim demands justice (July 12 2012)

The family of Mexican immigrant Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, who died in 2010 at the hands of the Border Patrol, said Thursday that the empaneling of a federal grand jury in the case is a step toward justice.

Maria Puga, Hernandez’s wife and the head of a national movement to demand that President Barack Obama convene the grand jury, told Efe that she is confident that with this move “the government is going to see justice done.”

“It’s the result of the pressure of the people and making public the video that shows the attack,” said the immigrant’s wife.

Deadly Border Violence

Border Patrol Thugs at Work

10 News: Investigation: Deadly Border Incidents On Rise:  Assaults Against Border Agents Decreasing (July 19 2012)

A 10News investigation with media partner KPBS and Investigative Newsource shows more illegal immigrants dying at the hands of border agents.  While assaults on Border Patrol agents are dropping, the investigation found the number of illegal immigrants killed in confrontations with the Border Patrol is on the rise  …  Since 2008, there have been 17 deaths — a 400 percent increase from 2008 to 2011.

AZ Starnet:   PBS explores Border Patrol conduct:  Show examines treatment of illegal immigrants in US (July 20 2012)

Tonight’s episode of PBS’s “Need to Know” focuses on U.S. Border Patrol abuse in detention centers, and several local humanitarian agencies are said to be featured in the episode. The show airs at 10 p.m.  …  Tonight’s episode includes an interview with a former Border Patrol agent who says suspected illegal immigrants suffer unacceptable conditions, including torture, sexual assault, overcrowding and food and water deprivation.

Salon:  Cruelty on the border:  A hidden camera shows Border Patrol agents destroying water jugs left for migrants, and the abuse just gets worse (July 20 2012)

The bodies have been turning up for years, thousands of them, scattered across the borderlands in the American Southwest. Ever-stricter border enforcement has encouraged migrants to avoid cities like San Diego and El Paso and take their chances at remote desert crossings instead. As they trek across the vast, unfamiliar and scorching terrain, many get disoriented and run out of water, with devastating consequences. So far this year, 94 bodies have been recovered in Arizona alone.

Since 2004, a faith-based coalition called No More Deaths has been leaving gallon jugs of water near common migration routes in a desperate bid to save lives. But in May of this year, just as temperatures in the harsh Sonoran Desert climbed above 100 degrees, the group’s volunteers began to notice that their water bottles were being slashed, destroyed or emptied. With violence from ranchers and vigilantes a constant threat, No More Deaths installed hidden cameras. They were surprised at what they found: Border Patrol agents were purposely, even gleefully, destroying the life-saving jugs of water.

MSNBC:  Deadly patrols: Illegal immigrant shot by US agent recounts ‘terror’ in the desert [Part 1] (July 18 2012)

“They call me the soap opera guy.”  Jesus Castro Romo states his new nickname and gestures toward the small television in front of his bed. That’s where he spends most of his days, lying on his back in the bedroom he shares with his wife and youngest son, watching soap operas. Cartoons, too, and animal shows.  Ever since the Border Patrol agent shot him and the bullet damaged his spine, Castro has adjusted to a sedentary life. He used to drive a dump truck and do landscaping work. Now he walks with a cane.

MSNBC:  Deadly patrols: Political climate limits prosecutions in border shootings [Part 2] (July 19 2012)

County Attorney Edward Rheinheimer, who has practiced here for 20 years, has seen more than half a dozen cases involving border patrol agents fatally shooting people. He’s taken only one of them to trial. Twice that case ended in a hung jury.

These cases are tough to prove, for reasons ranging from contested facts to politics, he and other legal experts said. But as the number of civilian deaths involving border agents rises – from one four years ago to five last year – it’s not just human rights activists who say there should be more accountability and oversight.

George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 17,000 Border Patrol Agents and support staff, says reforms leading to fewer fatal shootings by the border patrol are in order.

Tuscon Sentinel:  Deadly border patrols: One who lived to tell (July 18 2012)

KPBS:  Deadly Patrols: Fatal Confrontations with Border Agents Increase (July 13 2012)

Civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol agents are increasing even though illegal immigration and assaults against agents are down. This was the conclusion of a months-long investigation by nonprofit media organizations into incidents in three border states. Reporters identified at least 14 men and boys who have died since Oct. 1, 2009 after confrontations with Border Patrol agents.  The special report, unfolding here beginning today, illuminates serious questions about follow up and accountability.

AZ Starnet:  Blog: TV investigation alleges abuse by Border Patrol in Arizona (July 19 2012)

A journalistic investigation into shootings and alleged abuse by Border Patrol agents in Arizona is airing on TV and being published online this week  …  As part of the same project, reporter Roxana Popescu has written about a Nogales, Sonora man shot by a Border Patrol agent in Arizona. She’s also written about the slim chances of prosecution in cases where agents shoot people.

 

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One Response to Update on the Murder of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas & Increasing Public Awareness of Border Patrol Violence

  1. Francisco says:

    This is an outrage !!! Homeland security !!! Is this what my taxes is paying for!!! Border patrol hit squads !! Judge , jury, and executioners!! All Americans should be ashamed of who hires these people . We really need to look at some of our elected officials . I am willing to donate $ to make sure that all of these customs bullies are brought to justice!!!!

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