On the night of Jan. 16, 2014, a United States Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (SBPA) assigned to the Douglas Border Patrol Station in Douglas, AZ was on patrol in a remote desert area. The SBPA observed a subject hiding under some brush and he ordered the subject to stand. The subject ignored the SBPA’s instructions. When the SBPA attempted to place his hands on the subject to take him into custody, the subject began resisting, resulting in a prolonged physical struggle that left the BPA exhausted. The subject was able to climb on top of the SBPA. The SBPA then drew his service weapon, and the subject attempted to gain control over the weapon and point it at the SBPA, posing a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury. The SBPA regained control of the weapon and immediately fired one round at the subject’s torso. The SBPA was unable to determine if the round hit the subject, and the subject showed no sign of being hit, instead raising his arm over the SBPA. The SBPA fired a second round at the subject, striking him fatally in the head.
Both the United States Attorney’s Office and the Cochise County Attorney’s Office reviewed the case reports and declined to prosecute the SBPA on April 28, 2014 and May 13, 2015, respectively. In addition, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division declined to prosecute the SBPA.
Result of the NUFRB
On Dec. 7, 2016 the NUFRB convened to review the Jan. 16, 2014 use of force incident near Douglas, AZ involving a SBPA. Following a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of the case, the NUFRB determined that the use of force by the SBPA was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident. Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB made one training recommendation and one equipment recommendation, which have been referred to appropriate officials within CBP for consideration.