WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has launched at least two investigations into Customs and Border Protection personnel based in Arizona over shooting deaths, as part of a broader effort to clamp down on violence and allegations of human rights violations.
CBP, and in particular the Tucson Sector in Arizona, use of force against undocumented immigrants and Mexican citizens inside their home country has come under increasing scrutiny over the last year, and the investigations come on the heels of a federal civil lawsuit filed by the family of a 16-year-old Nogales, Mexico, boy who was killed during a cross-border shooting by CBP.
The involvement of Justice Department headquarters could represent a significant shift in how the Obama administration is addressing violence along the border. FBI investigators almost never bring criminal charges against CBP agents and officers, and human rights organizations have accused the administration of turning a blind eye towards the border.
A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment. But a law enforcement official familiar with the investigations confirmed personnel from Justice’s Civil Rights Division took part in a crime-scene visit last week in Nogales, Mexico, to investigate the 2012 shooting of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.
According to the Nogales International, which first reported the Nogales visit, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wallace Kleindienst and Karen Rolley and other federal officials joined their Mexican counterparts in the visit to the site of the shooting.
Although Kleindienst and Rolley are veteran prosecutors based in Arizona, the broader investigation into complaints against CBP is being run out of the civil rights division’s D.C. office. “In general, when these types of cases come up they are run out of the civil rights division in Washington, D.C.,” the law enforcement official explained.
- Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Moonlight." He's the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar 🏆👏
- Philip Bilden, the businessman nominated by President Trump to be Secretary of the Navy, has withdrawn himself from consideration.
- Actor Bill Paxton has died at 61. He starred in classic films including "Twister," "Titanic," "Big Love," and "Aliens."
- The Nokia brick phone is making a comeback — reimagined with a colored screen, but the game Snake hasn't gone anywhere 🐍📲