Border Patrol agents criticized for use of deadly force in redacted report
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -
US Border Patrol agents are accused of purposely stepping in the path of vehicles to justify shooting at drivers. They're also said to have fired rounds at people throwing rocks from the other side of the border in Mexico, according to an independent review of 67 documented shootings that resulted in 19 deaths from January 2010 to October 2012.
The report was put together by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a research and policy-setting organization based in Washington. PERF completed the review last year but US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has redacted the review's findings and recommendations.
On Thursday, The Los Angeles Times published it had obtained the full report and CBP's responses.
According to the paper's findings, PERF's report blasted Border Patrol agents for a "lack of diligence" when agents fired their weapons. The report also states it is unclear if Border Patrol "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.
A report released in September by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General redacted how many recommendations were made by PERF and what exactly those recommendations were.
According to The Times, CBP's response rejects two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless the driver is trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury, prodding at the act of throwing rocks from Mexico at agents stationed just across the border.
Francisco Luna told CBS 5 News the border between Arizona and Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous.
"You cross the fence, you get shot at," Luna said.
CBS 5 News made another request for PERF's review on Thursday. Again, CBP would not release the documents because "it's an internal document refining policy."
The Department of Homeland Security however acknowledged it has rejected some of the policies PERF recommended.
"Secretary [Jeh] Johnson has been very concerned about issues surrounding the use of force policy," a DHS official said. "[Johnson] is considering changes in the two policies mentioned."
PERF's review and recommendations remain under lock and key. Members of Congress have also criticized CBP for not disclosing PERF's report.
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Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.