March 10, 2015, use of force incident at Alpine, CA
On March 10, 2015 in Alpine, CA, a U.S. Border Patrol agent encountered a male subject at an apartment complex while attempting to serve a felony arrest warrant (for forcible rape of a child) as part of a U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Fugitive Task Force. USMS task force members had previously been advised that the subject should be considered to be “armed and dangerous.” As the task force moved into position for the arrest, the man jumped into a sport utility vehicle (SUV) in an effort to escape. The man started the vehicle’s engine, and the SUV began rocking forward and backward, its engine revving loudly and its backup lights flashing on and off. Various members of the USMS task force believed that fellow officers positioned behind the vehicle were in imminent danger, and they fired their handguns at the driver to try to stop it from backing up into those officers.
As the U.S. Border Patrol agent moved towards the scene, he heard gunshots and the engine of the subject’s car racing; the agent also had a clear, unobstructed view of the vehicle, which was still rocking back and forth as if the driver was trying to put it into gear. The agent saw the driver looking down, conducting a “digging” motion in the vehicle, and putting his hands into his lap as if to retrieve a possible weapon. The agent, along with other task force members, repeatedly gave the driver verbal warnings and commands, which the man ignored.
Fearing that the driver would run over the two Deputy U.S. Marshals who were behind the SUV, the Border Patrol agent fired one round from his agency-issued service weapon at the driver concurrent with other rounds fired by other USMS task force members. The subject, who was struck but survived his injuries, continued to resist complying with USMS task force commands but was eventually taken into custody
Result of the NUFRB
On Sept. 13th, 2017 the CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) convened to review this use of force incident. The NUFRB held a vote to determine whether the use of force was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident.
The NUFRB unanimously determined that the agent’s discharge of his agency-issued service weapon on March 10, 2015 was consistent with CBP’s Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident, and that there were no issues involving potential misconduct or administrative violations.
Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB made one recommendation as a result of reviewing this case.