April 11, 2015, use of force incident in Pima County, AZ, no injuries reported
On April 11, 2015, two U.S. Border Patrol agents on patrol near Arivaca, Arizona, responded to radio reports from an agent operating a Mobile Surveillance Capability (MSC)2 truck about group activity on a ridge south of an area commonly referred to as Coches Well.
Two agents began tracking the group through a wash and then split up when they came to a fork in the road. One agent continued through the wash while the other agent took a trail on the high ground next to the wash.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. local time, the agent who remained in the wash encountered a group of five subjects carrying burlap packs, which was commonly known to that agent to be used by smugglers to carry bundles of illegal drugs. The agent took cover behind a small tree and attempted to communicate with his partner, but was unable to get a signal on his portable radio. Once the agent determined that he was no longer concealed, he stood up, identified himself as a Border Patrol agent, and ordered the group to stop.
The group initially stopped and dropped their packs. Four of the subjects ran away. The fifth subject picked up a rock from the ground, the size of which appeared to fill the subject’s hand. The subject cocked his arm over his head as if to throw the rock at the agent, at which point the agent fired one round from his service rifle at the subject. The subject dropped the rock and ran away. There is no evidence or indication to suggest the subject was struck by the round from the rifle.
Result of the NUFRB
On March 10, 2016, the CBP NUFRB convened to review the facts as investigated. The NUFRB determined that the application of force by the agent April 11, 2015, was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy.
Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB also made three operational and policy recommendations that have been referred to appropriate operational and policy officials within CBP for consideration.
2 An MSC is a Border Patrol vehicle equipped with Radar, night (infrared) and day (electro optical) cameras. The MSC is utilized for medium to long range surveillance.