LAS CRUCES, NM — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is calling for transparency and an impartial investigation after Border Patrol agents fatally shot a man in the state.
On Sunday, April 2, Border Patrol agents pursued a Nissan Rogue west of Las Cruces on I-10 after it allegedly circumvented a Border Patrol checkpoint, according to a press release issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Saturday. Eventually Border Patrol agents used a vehicle immobilization device in an attempt to stop the Nissan. The pursuit continued on foot, with the driver allegedly striking one of the agents with a “wooden club.” Three agents then fired 16 rounds at the driver, killing him at the scene.
The release identified the driver killed as a U.S. citizen and did not indicate if he had been suspected of any criminal or immigration-related violations other than circumventing a checkpoint.
According to the release, the fatal shooting is being investigated by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and was referred to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General The release states that “CBP is committed to expeditious release of the body worn camera footage of this incident as soon as is appropriate to do so without impacting the ongoing law enforcement investigation….”
ACLU of New Mexico Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Sheff issued the following statement:
“It is critical that CBP provide the utmost transparency into the circumstances of this tragic death in New Mexico. That includes following through on promptly releasing body cam footage to allow the public to see for themselves the events leading up to this shooting. There also needs to be accountability for any agent misconduct identified over the course of the investigation. It’s what the victim of this shooting and his loved ones deserve, and what all New Mexicans expect from law enforcement officers in our state.”