US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Dec. 16, 2016 – Use of Force Incident in Douglas, Arizona

Incident Date: 
Friday, December 16, 2016

On Dec. 16, 2016, an agent manning a Border Patrol camera at the Douglas Border Patrol Station observed two subjects climb over the international border fence into the U.S. The agent relayed that information to field agents via radio, and one agent responded.

Upon encountering the two subjects, the agent identified himself as a Border Patrol Agent, and the subjects ran in different directions. The agent chased one of the subjects around the bushes and over a fence before catching up to him. The agent got the subject to the ground where a physical altercation ensued.

During the struggle, and as the agent attempted to gain control of the subject’s hands, the subject hit the agent in the face. The agent was unable to gain control of the subject’s hands and transitioned to use his CBP-issued Collapsible Straight Baton instead. The agent struck the subject several times aiming for the extremities, but the strikes were ineffective.

The subject was able to grab at least two handfuls of dirt and throw them into the agent’s face and eyes, then freed his left hand and ripped the agent’s baton from his hand. The subject pushed away from the agent with his freed left hand and got to his feet. The agent rocked back to his knees and described that he saw the subject holding the baton at the low-ready position an estimated two to three feet from the agent’s face.

Because of the perceived threat that the subject would use the baton against him, the agent drew his CBP-issued handgun and fired four rounds. The subject was taken into custody without further incident and was provided medical attention for a gunshot wound to his left thigh.

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.

NUFRB Recommendations

The NUFRB made no formal recommendations on potential improvements to policy and training following their consideration of this incident.

 

Note: Normally, the deployment of a less-lethal device would not be considered by the NUFRB, but the board chose to review it in this instance, as it was part of the larger use of force incident.

Last modified: 
December 10, 2021