Texas State Trooper use of deadly force reckless, says ACLU.
LAS CRUCES, NM—The ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights today denounced the fatal shooting of two unarmed passengers in a moving vehicle by a Texas state trooper in a helicopter. The incident took place Thursday afternoon near the south Texas border town of La Joya. A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden called in the Department of Public Safety helicopter to assist in the pursuit of a vehicle he suspected was smuggling contraband. A sharpshooter fired on the vehicle multiple times, killing two passengers and wounding another. Initial reports suggest the truck was loaded with Guatemalan immigrants.
“Using deadly force in this situation was reckless and resulted in the tragic and unnecessary deaths of two people,” said Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights. “We urge a full and thorough investigation of this incident. We cannot allow our law enforcement officials—be they local or federal—to continue the ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ attitude that has resulted in the deaths of 18 people along the border over the past two years.”
Since January 2010, 18 individuals have died or were seriously injured by CBP officials in use-of-force incidents. Of these, eight cases involve agents responding to individuals alleged to be throwing rocks and six involve individuals killed while standing on the Mexican side of the border. Six of those killed were under the age of 21 and five were U.S. citizens. A federal investigation has been concluded in only one of these cases, without corrective action, and these abuses are subject to minimal oversight and accountability.