CBP Continues Pattern of Justifying Agents' Excessive Use of Force

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U.S. Southern Border Region - The Southern Border Communities Coalition(SBCC) is disappointed by the National Use of Force Review Board's (NUFRB) findings of four use-of-force incidents involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers.

The incidents occurred in both southern and northern border states, including California, Arizona, Washington State and New York. You can read the cases here. The findings come after the NUFRB justified excessive use of force in four additional cases in June 2016.

Christian Ramirez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalitionstates the following:

"It is disappointing that CBP has concluded in its recent investigations that agents involved in excessive use of force cases were found without culpability.  We insist that CBP must be transparent and must release in a timely fashion any disciplinary actions it has taken to address these cases. CBP must also publicize any operational and policy recommendations it has made during the course of these investigations. CBP has a responsibility to address the distrust that exists between border communities and the nation's largest law enforcement agency.  It must commit to transparent and accountable processes with reasonable oversight mechanisms. The delay in releasing these cases, their disappointing outcomes, and the backlog of investigations further creates a wedge between border communities and the enforcement agencies that operate in those communities."

Background

Since January 2010, almost 50 individuals have died as a result of an encounter with CBP officials. At least 33 deaths resulted from the use of lethal force. The National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) was created to bring transparency and accountability to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Transparency about the NUFRB's process, findings, and details regarding how any recommendations are being implemented is essential to make the Board an effective mechanism to build accountability and public trust. Like any other law enforcement agency, CBP must be held to the standards outlined by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

For several years law-enforcement experts, from both the public and private sector, have urged CBP to adopt police best practices in order to ensure added transparency and accountability measures inside CBP. In 2013, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was commissioned by CBP to conduct a review of the Use of Force by CBP officers and agents. This review included all CBP use of deadly force events from January 2010 through October 2012 and CBP use of force policies, equipment, tactics, and training and offered detailed recommendations for CBP to adopt. Click here for critical questions that CBP needs to answer regarding its use of force policy.

About SBCC

The Southern Border Communities Coalition brings together more than 60 organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region. For more information, please visit www.southernborder.org.

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