WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection today released body-worn camera footage from a deadly use of force incident that occurred on May 18, 2023, near Ajo, Arizona. 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 Newsroom Speeches and Statements page.
This incident was captured on body-worn cameras from 10 Border Patrol agents. The footage being released today contains imagery from four of those cameras.
The Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department, which had one officer on duty in the area, requested Border Patrol assistance at approximately 9 p.m. on May 18 to a shots-fired call west of the Menagers Dam Village. Agents from the Ajo Border Patrol Station met with the police officer and followed him to the location on Tohono O’odham Nation where the shots had been reported. The police officer and agents encountered an individual outside of a residence who threw an object toward the officers and abruptly extended his right arm away from his body. Three agents fired their service weapons, striking the individual several times.
This incident is being investigated by the Tohono O’odham Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being reviewed by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). 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. 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 and 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. This commitment 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 constantly works to ensure all employees understand and maintain the highest level of professional standards in their interactions with those they encounter 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.