Aug. 27, 2016 – Use of Force Incident Near Pembina, North Dakota
On Aug. 27, 2016, two Border Patrol Agents were responding separately to a Border Patrol camera activation on Old Highway 81 near Pembina, North Dakota, when they encountered a suspicious vehicle. Upon seeing two Border Patrol vehicles, the driver of the vehicle suddenly sped away southbound. Both agents turned around in their respective vehicles, activated their emergency lights, and pursued.
During the course of the pursuit, the subject vehicle repeatedly struck and/or attempted to strike one of the Border Patrol vehicles. The subject vehicle was eventually forced off the road by one Border Patrol vehicle and both came to rest on the side of the road immediately next to each other. The second agent stopped his vehicle about 10-12 feet behind the other two vehicles.
The second agent observed the subject exit the vehicle, holding an unidentified object in his raised hand that appeared to be a handgun. The subject moved towards the agent, making verbal statements that he had a gun. The agent fired four rounds at the subject from his CBP-issued handgun.
At approximately the same time, the agent in the first vehicle observed the subject exit his vehicle and raise his arm while holding an unidentified object in his hand that appeared to be a handgun. The agent heard the subject make a statement that he had a gun. The second agent observed the subject moving towards the other agent with a weapon and fired seven rounds from his CBP-issued handgun at the subject.
The subject was not hit by any of the rounds fired at him. The subject was later taken to a medical facility for treatment of self-inflicted knife wounds and held for a psychiatric evaluation.
Result of the NUFRB
The CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) determined that the discharges of CBP-issued handguns by the two agents were in compliance with CBP Use of Force Policy that was in effect at the time of the incident, but that the use of deliberate vehicle contact with the subject’s vehicle was not in compliance with CBP policy.
At the time of the National Use of Force Review Board determination, the agent responsible for the deliberate vehicle contact was no longer employed by CBP, and therefore no corrective action was imposed.
Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB made a formal recommendation following their consideration of this incident.