Border Patrol Takes Flak Over Use of Lethal Force

Changes expected after rash of recent deaths
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2014 4:37 PM CST
Border Patrol Takes Flak Over Use of Lethal Force
A young Juarez boy peeks through the border fence into Sunland Park, N.M. as Border Patrol vehicles pass by.   (AP Photo/El Paso Times, Mark Lambie)

A scathing report that suggests US Border Patrol agents are too quick to shoot and kill is expected to bring policy changes soon, reports the Wall Street Journal. Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson told Congress that he is personally reviewing some of the recent cases and will announce the reforms "any day now." Advocates for immigrants say that since 2010, agents have killed 22 people, most of them unarmed and from Latin America. Meanwhile, an independent review by law enforcement experts suggests that agents deliberately escalated situations to justify a shooting, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The report by the Police Executive Research Forum found two main problems: Agents stepped in front of moving vehicles so they could label it a threat and open fire, and they fired out of frustration at people throwing rocks. The best guess is that Johnson will agree with the report's recommendations to stop both practices. The number of agents has quintupled in the last two decades to 21,000, resulting in a large number of inexperienced agents in the field, a Homeland Security official tells the Journal. (More Border Patrol stories.)

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