May 7, 2015, use of force incident near Waddington, NY
On May 7, 2015, at 3:50 p.m. local time, a U.S. Border Patrol agent working at a border checkpoint near Waddington, New York, was approached by an individual driving a black sedan. The agent motioned the driver to stop the vehicle for inspection. After a brief interview and initial inspection of the vehicle, the agent instructed the driver to pull over for further inspection due to multiple factors presented during the interview, including an inconsistent and confusing story, physical signs of nervousness, hesitance to answer questions, and the appearance of a fresh handprint on the trunk.
The driver complied with the agent’s instruction to pull the vehicle over into the designated area for further inspection. After waiting in her vehicle, the subject got out of the vehicle, confronted one of the agents, and became argumentative. The subject ignored the agent’s repeated instructions to return to her vehicle and instead stepped closer to the agent. The agent instructed the subject to return to her vehicle, but the subject made physical contact with the agent by bumping him. At this point, the agent attempted to restrain the subject by grabbing her forearm and elbow.
However, the subject resisted by flailing her arms and hitting the agent. The subject also attempted to strike the agent with her elbow, at which time another agent activated an electronic control weapon in dart-mode, hitting the subject in the lower back and causing her to fall to the ground. The agents then restrained the subject, who declined medical treatment, and continued with the inspection process. After completing the inspection and consulting with the local U.S. Attorney’s Office, agents released the subject with her vehicle.
Result of the NUFRB
On December 10, 2015, the CBP NUFRB convened to review the facts as investigated. The NUFRB determined that the application of force via the electronic control weapon by the agent May 7, 2015, was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy.
Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB also made one operational and policy recommendation that has been referred to appropriate operational and policy officials within CBP for consideration.