They got shafted. They are scapegoats.
This is a real travesty of justice.
This is a discussion on What's the scoop on the two convicted Border Patrol agents? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Saw this on the Minuteman's website: http://www.minutemanproject.com/defa...?contentID=233 Whats the real deal with the agents? Were they escape goats or did they really mess up?...
Saw this on the Minuteman's website:
Whats the real deal with the agents? Were they escape goats or did they really mess up?
They got shafted. They are scapegoats.
This is a real travesty of justice.
Much is missing in this statement. One doesn't beget the other. Does anyone know the relevant details of (at least the claimed) justification for conviction? And, conviction of what? Failure to apprehend?... ordered to report to federal prison for their attempt to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler.
It is my understanding from some TV/Radio interviews that the Western District of Texas US Attorney charged them with 19 USC 922 a1, which is carrying a handgun during the commission of a felony.
This is highly unusual and carries a minimum penalty of 10 years for a conviction. It is usually a tag on charge with other felonies, used by federal agencies.
I've got to believe there's more here than we're seeing.
If the dude was turned toward them, shooting at them, then they had every right to fill him full of holes, IMHO. Same story if he was facing away from them, running away, shooting over his shoulder.
That would make the conviction a miscarriage of justice, as many have stated. The legal system, believe it or not, is NOT the friend of the criminal defendant. This story is unique and has achieved some level of publicity only because the defendants happen to be LEO's.
OTOH, if the dude shot at them, then started running off, they shouldn't have shot at him.
These are border patrol officers charged with securing a national border. It goes without saying that an officer isn't likely to know someone who is evading arrest and fleeing across the border."The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is a violation of someone's Fourth Amendment rights to shoot them in the back while fleeing if you don't know who they are and/or if you don't know they have a weapon," said Kanof.What rights? The right to invade a neighboring country and flee arrest? This insanity more than anything else spells doom for future hiring of any officers with an ounce of pride in what they do. If this is the official government position, then it's not a stretch to say that the U.S. has a government uninterested in actually securing that border.At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof told the court that the agents had violated an unarmed Aldrete-Davila's civil rights.Kanof dismissed Ramos' testimony that he had seen something shiny in the smuggler's hand, saying that the agent couldn't be sure it was a gun he had seen.Really? Sworn officers are not allowed to pursue? They've got a badge and arrest powers; they're issued tools, vehicles and weapons and are specifically tasked with securing the border ... and they're not allowed to pursue a suspect that's evading arrest? Hm. I wonder how "leaks like a seive" is pronounced in Spanish.Further, Kanof argued, it was a violation of Border Patrol policy for agents to pursue fleeing suspects. Agents are not allowed to pursue."Sounds like a big steamy horse apple to me. To exceed the speed limit in a car, sworn officers must get supervisor approval? What if the supervisor is loading up on coffee and donuts ... would the officers be at risk of being charged with "choking a supervisor with donut", if such a call were placed?"In order to exceed the speed limit, you have to get supervisor approval, and they did not," she told the Daily Bulletin.Five day suspension. Perhaps even an official reprimand and demotion, if it suits them. But not hardly prison for 11yrs. Sure, dumb move to not file a report. Provides the perfect setup of the agents, if indeed no such report were filed.Those shell casings Compean picked up were described to the jury as destroying the crime scene and their failure to file an incident report – punishable by a five-day suspension, according to Border Patrol regulations – an attempted cover up.
Apologies for the cynical view taken, but something is missing. It's sounding more like scapegoating all the time. Cover-up? Entirely possible.
Last edited by ccw9mm; January 6th, 2007 at 06:58 PM. Reason: spellin' errors
Here's the US Dept of Justice release on the issue.
STATEMENT OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEY JOHNNY SUTTON REGARDING THE
CONVICTION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL AGENTS COMPEAN AND RAMOS
In response to misstatements and misinformation being reported in the media regarding the prosecution of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, relating to a shooting that occurred while they were on duty as U.S. Border Patrol agents on February 17, 2005, the United States Attorney’s Office for the
Western District of Texas releases this advisory summarizing the evidence presented at defendants’ trial. As will be demonstrated by the summary below, the defendants were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender by holding his open hands in the air, at which time Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of Compean’s shotgun, causing the man to run in fear of what the agents would do to him next. Although both agents saw that the man was not armed, the agents fired at least 15 rounds at him while he was running away from them, hitting him once.
On February 17, 2005, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were on duty along the U.S./Mexico border, working out of the Fabens Border Patrol Station. At approximately one o’clock in the afternoon, Agent Compean observed a van near the border about two and a half miles west of Fabens. According to the testimony, the driver of the van, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, failed to yield to Agent
Ramos’ attempt to stop him, jumped out of his vehicle and attempted to run back to Mexico. After Ramos told Aldrete-Davila to stop, Ramos drew his service revolver and pointed it at Aldrete-Davila. Aldrete-Davila jumped into a steep ditch filled with dirty water and when he tried to climb the steep incline out of the ditch, he was confronted by defendant Compean, waiting for him with a shotgun pointed directly at him. During his testimony, Compean acknowledged that at that time Aldrete-Davila held his hands up, as if to surrender, with his palms open, and no weapon was in either hand, or evident on his person. Another agent, who had arrived by this time and observed the scene, heard someone yell “hit him.” Aldrete-Davila, who was at one time a legal resident alien of the United States and speaks some English, also heard someone yell “hit him, hit him,” and specifically heard Compean yell: “Parate, parate, Mexicano de mierda.” (“Stop, stop you Mexican
According to testimony, Compean swung his shotgun around in an attempt to hitAldrete-Davila with the butt of his weapon, but lost his footing and fell face down into the dirt and brush. Aldrete-Davila began to run to the river and did not look back. Agent Ramos also testified that when he saw Aldrete-Davila in the ditch, he had an opportunity to look at Aldrete-Davila’s hands, which he is trained to do for self defense and defense of another, and did not see any weapons in either of Aldrete-Davila’s hands. When Aldrete-Davila almost reached the river, but while he was still out in the open vega area, he heard numerous gun shots.
Compean fired at Aldrete-Davila at least fourteen times and Ramos fired at Aldrete Davila once. Aldrete-Davila felt a sting in his left buttock and fell to the ground. When he reached for the location of the pain, his hand came away bloody. Fearing the shooters were about to reach his location and kill him, he turned his head and saw the two defendants holster their weapons, turn away from him and walk back north.
He got up, limped to the river and returned to Mexico where he sought medical attention and learned that the bullet had caused serious inury. The bullet remained lodged in his body, causing him pain and impeding his ability to walk, until extracted by a military physician in the United States. On March 16, 2006, the bullet extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s body was matched to the service weapon carried by defendant Ramos, evidencing that Ramos fired the shot that struck Aldrete-Davila.
At the time of the shooting, neither agent Compean nor agent Ramos knew that the van driven by Aldrete-Davila contained 743 pounds of marijuana. The evidence was un-controverted that, at the time the victim was shot, neither agent knew whether the driver was illegally in the United States or whether a crime had been committed. The only information they had was that the driver had failed to pull over to be identified.
According to the testimony of seven other Border Patrol agents who arrived at the scene of the incident after the shooting, neither Compean nor Ramos mentioned that the driver who absconded had a gun, or that any agent’s life was in danger. Defendant Compean repeatedly denied that he had been injured by the driver and refused the supervisor’s offer to file a Report of Assault on his behalf.
At the scene, Ramos told a supervisor that as the suspect fled from the vehicle, agent Compean was on the levee attempting to apprehend him. Defendant Ramos said that as the suspect tried to flee Compean either tried to grab the suspect, or did a “side to side” movement, but fell to the ground and got dirt in his eyes. Ramos did not mention the shooting, and said nothing about the suspect having a weapon. At the scene, when asked why he was so excited, Ramos told another agent that it was just the adrenalin that had him all pumped up.
An agent who encountered defendant Compean sometime later, away from the scene of the incident, testified that Compean told him, “That little ***** took me to the ground and threw dirt in my face.” Compean did not indicate that he felt threatened, that his life was in danger, or that the driver had a weapon at any time. Compean did show the agent nine shell casings that he had collected at the scene and indicated he was “probably missing five more casings.” Compean told the agent he had “fired some rounds...did a magazine exchange and fired some more rounds,” and asked the agent to look for the additional casings. The agent proceeded to the scene of the shooting, located the additional five casings, threw them into the drainage ditch and called defendant Compean, using his cellular telephone, to tell him he had found five rounds and threw them away. The removal of the shell casings from the scene made it impossible to do a complete investigation of the shooting.
According to written Border Patrol policy, an agent who discharges his firearm at anytime, including off duty or by accident, must report the discharge to a supervisor within one hour. Both defendants Compean and Ramos had attended firearms refresher training which includes a review of this policy the day before the incident. Border Patrol policy also requires that the scene of a shooting be preserved so that the Sector Evidence Team may examine the evidence and file a written report detailing their findings so that a determination can be made of whether the discharge was justified. Evidence presented at trial indicated that, in the entire time of the defendants’ employment as Border Patrol agents, every reported shooting had been
ruled justified and no agent was disciplined as a result of a shooting. Defendant Ramos is a trained member of the Sector Evidence Team and a firearms instructor who teaches the discharge policy.
Testimony elicited at trial clearly established that, until an investigation initiated at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General began on March 4, 2005, no written report had been filed, no oral report had been made, and no person in any official capacity was cognizant of the fact that a shooting had occurred or a firearm had been discharged by any Border Patrol
Agent in the direction of an individual fleeing into Mexico after having failed to stop for immigration status identification on February 17, 2005. The only report of any law enforcement activity on file for the Fabens Border Patrol Station on that date was an Immigration and Naturalization form I-44, Report of Apprehension or Seizure, authored by both defendants and signed by Jose Alonso Compean. The very brief report stated
that after the driver of the van failed to pull over for an immigration check: “The driver of the van began driving back south towards Mexico. The driver was able to abscond into Mexico.” The report, admitted into evidence, then indicated that immediately after the driver absconded, defendant Ramos spotted the bags of marijuana in the van. No written report exists that indicates that defendant Compean was assaulted by the
driver, tussled with the driver, was threatened by the driver’s actions or thought the driver had a gun. Both supervisors who arrived at the scene, after the incident was over, repeatedly asked defendant Compean if he was assaulted or injured and if he wished for them to file a Report of Assault-Service Employees, which is routinely completed if an agent reports being assaulted by a suspect. Compean did not wish such a report to
This office did not prosecute the defendants because they had violated Border Patrol policies. They were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender, but, while his open hands were held in the air, Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of his shotgun. In fear
of what the agents would do to him next, the man ran away from the agents, who then fired at least 15 rounds at him, although they had seen his open hands and knew that he was not holding a weapon and had no reason to think that he had a weapon, hitting him once causing serious bodily injury. The references to policies are
made only to demonstrate that had the defendants believed that the shooting was justified, there was no reason for them to conceal it from supervisors and remove evidence from the scene. The laws of the United States make it a crime for law enforcement officers to use excessive force in apprehending suspects. It is a violation
of any person’s Constitutional rights to shoot at them after they have attempted to surrender, knowing that they are unarmed and pose no danger to the officers or anyone else.
At the initiation of their investigation, the DHS Office of Inspector General contacted Aldrete-Davila who was at the time in Mexico. Aldrete-Davila was at first reluctant to cooperate with the investigation because he feared that should he return to the United States, he could be prosecuted for the offenses committed in relation to the load of marijuana he was driving on February 17, 2005. In order to secure his
cooperation and appearance at trial in the United States, this office agreed that in return for his truthful testimony he would not be prosecuted for the February 17, 2005 offenses. The agreement does not immunize any other conduct.
Based on all of the evidence admitted at the two week trial, including the lengthy testimony of both of the defendants, the jury of twelve citizens heard all of the testimony, judged the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses and unanimously found both defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of eleven of the
twelve counts alleged in the indictment, including assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and wilfully violating Aldrete-Davila’s Constitutional, Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure, as well as obstructing justice by intentionally defacing the crime scene, lying about the incident, and failing to report the
Last edited by AgentX; January 7th, 2007 at 08:28 AM.
They were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender, but, while his open hands were held in the air, Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of his shotgun. In fear of what the agents would do to him next, the man ran away from the agents, who then fired at least 15 rounds at him, although they had seen his open hands and knew that he was not holding a weapon and had no reason to think that he had a weapon, hitting him once causing serious bodily injury.Ah. That clears up thing quite a bit.The laws of the United States make it a crime for law enforcement officers to use excessive force in apprehending suspects. It is a violation of any person’s Constitutional rights to shoot at them after they have attempted to surrender, knowing that they are unarmed and pose no danger to the officers or anyone else.
AgentX: Thanks for the post of the USDOJ release.
A similar situation with CCW'ers might be, say, a trespasser (not a robber). If a trespasser were to be caught on property, held at gunpoint and demanded to surrender, but then the person did what is suggested above (raised hands, surrendered, then fled when physically attacked), then shooting at the person while running away is verboten.
Basic premise: necessary force may be used, but not a degree of force excessive for the situation (ie, lethal force cannot be justified in such non-threatening situations). It's what we're held to. It's what police officers are held to. It's what border patrol agents should be held to.
If the facts were as stated in that USDOG release of the trial's facts, then it sure does seem the two agents dug themselves a big hole. Taken together, attempting to strike a surrendering suspect, firing on a fleeing suspect, failure to report, and altering a scene ... all of this paints an ugly picture of agents that handled things badly.
Think: What if a CCW'er were to strike at an apparently-unarmed trespasser (not a robber) who has surrendered, chase him down, shoot him, then alter the scene by removing bullets, and fail to report? Prison, probably.
A.O.J. Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy. In the case of the border agents, there appears to have been no ability (as there was no apparent weapon), and no jeopardy. If as reported, then the agents perhaps even contributed to the fleeing by attempting to bludgeon/beat the surrendered man.
What a mess, trying to fill in the missing pieces. Almost impossible to get it "right" with so little reported info.
To those I might have offended with the earlier cynical post, my apologies. A good lesson not to knee-jerk it, when so little info is known. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn't. Ah, me. Live and learn.
just an update in case anyone was trying to keep track of this one:
http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/10947798/...5263&qs=1;bp=tFebruary 6, 2007 -- A former U.S. Border Patrol agent convicted of shooting a drug smuggling suspect and covering it up is in segregation now in a Mississippi prison, after fellow inmates assaulted him on Saturday night.U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a vocal supporter of the agents, criticized the Bush administration on Tuesday for failing to protect Ramos and demanded a full presidential pardon for both men convicted.
In an exclusive KFOX interview with President George W. Bush last month, he said he had no intention to pardon them in the near future.
Here is the 77-page Department of Homeland Security's Report of Investigation on Ignacio Ramos & Jose Compean, if anyone is interested. It is in Adobe Acrobat format, and a tad over 6MB large.