WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection released body-worn camera footage today from a deadly use of force incident which occurred near Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 2, 2023. The video may be viewed on the Body-Worn Camera Video Releases page and the in-custody death statement on the incident can be found on the "Agents fire service weapons on non-compliant man after he strikes agent with wooden club; man dies at scene" newsroom page.
This incident was captured on three agents’ body worn cameras. That footage is being released today, in compliance with CBP policy and the May 25, 2022, Executive Order on Advancing Effective Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety.
A Border Patrol agent observed a sports utility vehicle circumvent a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 10 approximately 23 miles west of Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 2 and began to follow. After a vehicle pursuit, the driver exited the vehicle and was confronted by Border Patrol agents. After walking for several minutes with the driver while attempting to persuade him to stop, an agent moved in to attempt to physically restrain the driver. The driver advanced to meet the agent, who fell to the ground, swinging a wooden club multiple times and striking the agent on the ground. The driver struck the agent a second time as he stood over him and was preparing to do so again when three other agents fired their service weapons, striking the driver.
This use of deadly force is being investigated by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility. OPR has referred initial investigative information to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, which has not yet commented on this matter. As part of its investigation, OPR will assess compliance with our policies on the part of the Border Patrol agents involved in this incident. At the conclusion of these reviews, CBP’s National Use of Force Review Board will review the incident to determine whether the Border Patrol Agent followed CBP policy regarding the permissible use of force. The results of the review board’s proceedings will be released publicly on CBP’s website. A thorough investigation is important to us, our workforce and the public, and we will take action as determined appropriate by our review process.
CBP’s prompt public release of this footage is in keeping with our commitment to accountability and transparency. This includes our ongoing work to deploy body-worn camera systems to all frontline personnel except for those who work in areas already covered by other camera systems, such as processing facilities, ports of entry or aboard aircraft.
CBP is committed to being a leader in law enforcement accountability and transparency. The agency constantly works to ensure that all employees understand and maintain the highest level of professional standards in their interactions with those they apprehend consistent with law enforcement standards of performance and conduct. CBP strives to be as transparent as possible regarding the release of investigative information to the public through its annual Report on Internal Investigations and Employee Accountability. CBP continually reviews its training, policies and procedures while engaging with subject matter experts to ensure training reflects law enforcement best practices.