CBP Use-of-Force Statistics Fail to Demonstrate Accountability and Oversight

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Southern Border Region:  Today, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released findings demonstrating what they allege to be a reduction in use-of-force since 2011. While the information shared is welcomed by border rights advocates, many questions still remain.

Representatives of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) stated the following.

Christian Ramírez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and Human Rights Director at Alliance San Diego:

The goal isn't to simply use force less but instead only use force when reasonable, necessary and as a last resort. The problem with military-style policing today is that it emphasizes force and aggression towards communities over cooperation and de-escalation.This announcement tells us nothing about changing Border Patrol's culture from one of escalating situations to justify using excessive force to one of accountability that emphasizes using words and the minimum force necessary to safely resolve situations and protect human life.

Vicki Gaubeca, Co-Chair of the SBCC and Director of the Regional Center for Border Rights at the ACLU of New Mexico:

We are all for less use of force by CBP, which has a deeply troubling record of killings and excessive force. But CBP’s release today celebrates a decrease in use-of-force incidents based on incomplete statistics that exclude many uses of force. The announcement lacks transparency regarding pending disciplinary action or investigations and fails to assuage border residents’ concerns that CBP culture values military-style policing over de-escalation and preservation of human life. CBP should use force only as a last resort, and any force used should be publicly reported and investigated to ensure that it was no more than necessary.

Jennifer Johnson, Border Policy Advisor of the Southern Border Communities Coalition stated:

CBP should exhibit the same transparency regarding disciplinary action and investigations into allegations of excessive force. CBP's effort to wash its hands and turn a painful page without providing any details regarding how it holds agents accountable offends American values of fairness and justice.

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