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Feb. 3, 2016 – Use of Force Incident in Calexico, California

Incident Date: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On Feb. 3, 2016, a Supervisory Border Patrol Agent in Calexico, California was waiting for a tow truck to arrive to seize an abandoned vehicle belonging to a known local smuggler. Earlier that morning, agents from the Calexico Border Patrol Station had attempted to stop the vehicle after observing it crossing into the country illegally, but the subject had evaded apprehension.

As the tow truck driver arrived at the scene, the subject reappeared and attempted to take possession of the abandoned vehicle. The agent recognized the subject based on the physical description provided earlier over the radio.

A physical struggle inside the car ensued, and the agent deployed his CBP-issued Taser less-lethal device against the subject, but it was ineffective. The subject then grabbed the gearshift, shifting the vehicle in reverse, and it crashed into a nearby tree stump. The impact caused the Taser to fall from the agent’s hand. As the physical struggle continued, both men ended up outside the car.

Since the agent didn’t know where his Taser was, he drew his CBP-issued handgun and repeatedly ordered the subject to show him his hands. The subject instead grabbed for the gun, and during the struggle for control the gun went off, discharging one round into the ground. The subject was not struck by the fired round and was taken into custody without further incident.

Result of the NUFRB

The CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) determined that the deployment of the Taser was in compliance with CBP Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident, and that the discharge of the handgun was unintentional.

NUFRB Recommendations

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

Last modified: 
December 10, 2021