A new video shows Anastacio Hernadez-Rojas lying on the ground in the fetal position, circled by at least a dozen federal agents as one repeatedly shocks him with an electric stun gun.
The video was shot by a passer-by and was obtained by the lawyer for the Hernandez-Rojas family as they push on with their wrongful death suit against the US government.
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired the video and an interview with the woman who shot it as part of a new documentary. In May 2010, Seattle resident Ashley Young was crossing a bridge from Mexico to the United States. In the “Need to Know” report, Young said that she saw the man lying on the ground was handcuffed. She said she did not witness any evidence of Hernandez-Rojas lashing out at the agents, but they are clearly heard yelling in the video for him to stop resisting. He was then tasered five times while calling for help in Spanish.
She also said that a small crowd had gathered on the bridge and some yelled for the agents to stop. But the officers came along to tell the onlookers to keep walking. One officer demanded that witnesses hand over their cell phones or delete the video they had taken, she said, but she kept walking. Young told PBS she “felt like she watched someone be murdered.”
So, let me get this straight. We torture prisoners of war, our former defense secretary is stripped of legal immunity for having covered up violence and rape of prisoners of war, and we indefinitely detain and torture elderly people, the mentally ill, and teenagers in our Guantanamo Bay facility… and I’m supposed to be reassured that we’re not torturing people who try to jump the border simply because these agents are told not to torture people?
Yeah, that makes sense.
Back in 2006, volunteers with No More Deaths, a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping migrants along the Arizona-Mexico border, began hearing the same stories from many who had been in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Thwarted would-be unauthorized immigrants spoke of being denied water or food during their custody. Others said they were beaten.
The organization started properly documenting these allegations, and the stories added up to nearly 13,000 testimonies whose results were released in a report this week.
The findings went beyond denial of food and water. Migrants held by the Border Patrol spoke of being exposed to extreme heat or cold, sleep deprivation, death threats, and psychological abuse such as blaring music with lyrics about migrants dying in the desert.
A previous report by No More Deaths in 2008 raised the same concerns, but now the number of recorded cases point to a systematic problem.
“By this point, the overwhelming weight of the corroborated evidence should eliminate any doubt that Border Patrol abuse is widespread,” the report states.
(Source: CNN, via ignatius-m)