April 12, 2017 – Use of Force Incident near Sierra Vista, Arizona
On April 12, 2017, during the pre-dawn hours, three Border Patrol Agents from the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station were tracking a group of three individuals in the Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista, Arizona that they suspected had crossed the border illegally. The agents had been tracking the individuals for several hours after they had triggered a Border Patrol motion camera.
As the agents approached the group, all three subjects ran away. After a brief foot pursuit, agent “A” was able to grab ahold of one subject over a fallen and suspended tree trunk. The subject began fighting with agent “A,” who held on to the subject to prevent the subject’s escape and yelled for agent “B” to help. Agent “B” moved to assist and grabbed the subject, and at that time the tree trunk broke, causing all three to fall to the ground.
Once on the ground, the subject kicked agent “A” in the face two times. The subject then grabbed a baseball-sized rock and used it to hit agent “B” in the face, stunning him. Agent “A” immediately grabbed for the subject’s arm so he could not swing the rock again and used a flashlight to strike the subject in the head approximately four times. The subject then dropped the rock.
During the altercation, the subject yelled for one of the other subjects to help him. Another subject reappeared and began yelling threats and profanity at agents “A” and “B.” The agents’ attention was divided between the first subject, who was still actively fighting them, and the second subject (who was approximately 15 yards away). Also, during the altercation, agent “A” deployed his collapsible straight baton and used physical strikes to the body in an attempt to gain control of the subject. Agent “B” also attempted to use physical strikes to the body to gain control of the subject. Agent “B” quickly radioed for assistance, and a third agent responded and assisted in taking both subjects into custody.
As he was being taken for medical treatment, the first subject verbally threatened the agents and tried to incite a fight with other responding agents. The subject was transported for medical attention without further incident.
Result of the NUFRB
The CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) determined that the uses of force were in compliance with CBP Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident.
The NUFRB made no formal recommendations on potential improvements to policy and training following their consideration of this incident.