San Diego, CA – New footage has recently become available of the events taking place at the Border Patrol station which preceded the 2010 brutal death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas at the hands of border agents as the U.S. government finalizes a $1 million settlement with the victim’s family.
The settlement, expected to be approved by a federal judge on Thursday, March 2, follows years of stalled investigations and denials that border agents did anything wrong. While money can never replace the life of Anastasio, the settlement is a badge of shame for the federal government. It comes at a time when Customs, and Border Protection (CBP) is expected to see a dramatic increase in resources and Border Patrol (a component agency of CBP) is expected to grow from 20,000 to 25,000 agents in the southern border region with no commensurate oversight or accountability, leading to concerns that other families will suffer at the hands of out of control border agents.
Press conference will be streamed live on Facebook
For new footage click here: http://bit.ly/2lYz3gN
What: Press conference will include reaction from Anastasio’s family and will also include newly available footage of the events taking place at the Border Patrol station which preceded the death of Anastasio. In addition, video testimony of witnesses and defendants will be made available.
When: Today, March 2, 2017, 3:00 p.m., following the federal court hearing to finalize the settlement in Anastasio’s case.
Where: Athens Market Taverna, 109 West F. Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Who: Anastasio’s family, attorneys and supporters will talk about the settlement
Press Conference Speakers
- Maria Puga, wife of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas
- Gene Iredale, lead attorney in the civil case for the law firm of Iredale and Yoo, APC
- Pedro Ríos, director of US-Mexico Border Program at American Friends Service
- Andrea Guerrero, co-chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), and co-counsel on pending petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Maria Puga, widow of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, stated the following:
“This settlement is not justice, but it is a badge of shame. No amount of money can ever replace Anastasio. We miss him dearly every day. I will never forget my husband, and my children will never forget their father. No family should ever have to go through this. We don’t want to have more cases like that of Anastasio.”
Gene Iredale, lead attorney in the civil case, stated the following:
“Within 90 minutes, the events that led to the death of Anastasio provided a microcosm of all the problems that plague CBP: casual cruelty of agents who injured Anastasio, refusal of agents to respond to his medical request, retaliation against Anastasio for having made the request, physical retribution by agents who threw him to the ground and kicked and punched him, excessive use of the Taser by agents who then put their full weight on Anastasio leading to his positional asphyxia and heart attack, failure of supervisors to intervene to prevent Anastasio’s death, and the attempt of agents to destroy eyewitness video evidence of agent misconduct. This case put all these problems in the spotlight. Now we need to address them.”
Christian Ramirez, Director of Southern Border Communities Coalition stated the following:
“For years there has been a lack of oversight and accountability within this agency. CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in this country and some of its agents operate with reckless disregard for life. Not only have CBP agents deprived Anastasio’s family of a father and a husband, they have taken the lives of dozens of others. At a time when the President is considering adding thousands of more agents to CBP, we call on Congress to recognize the culture of abuse and impunity in this agency, and use the power of the purse to withhold funding until the agency institutes meaningful oversight and accountability mechanisms.”
Pedro Ríos, director of US-Mexico Border Program at American Friends Service Committee stated the following:
“In 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a hard-working father and husband, and a long-time resident of San Diego, was brutally beaten and Tasered by border agents until his body could take no more. The greater San Diego community, and the world at large watched the horrific images of armed agents as they took turns beating a man who was lying down, hog-tied, and defenseless. For seven years, CBP denied any wrongdoing. This settlement is a recognition of the harm that border agents caused. The fight for justice is not over. We commit ourselves to working with Anastasio’s family as they continue to seek true justice and uplift the dignity of border community members.”
Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego and Co-Chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition stated the following:
“The fight for justice continues. We have exhausted our options in the U.S. court system but still have a pending petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an international tribunal. That claim is against the U.S. government for failure to properly investigate and prosecute this case. We must remember that not only was Anastasio’s life taken, but evidence was destroyed, eyewitnesses dispersed, and the investigation was inadequate. Through this claim, the Commission has the opportunity to weigh in on a broken justice system and point to reforms that end the impunity.”
On May 28, 2010, border agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry brutally beat and Tasered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a longtime resident of San Diego, leading to his death, which was classified by the San Diego County Medical Examiner as a homicide. An eyewitness recorded the incident and the video became international news, calling into question the brutality of CBP, which has long been alleged in the repeated abuse of border residents. The incident and the many others that followed it triggered Congressional inquiries, agency-wide investigations into the use of force, new use-of-force policies that, among other things, limited the use of Tasers, and the piloting of body-worn cameras by agents.
For more information on the case, click here.
The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together 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.
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