Sept. 26, 2016 – Use of Force Incident in Laredo, Texas
On Sept. 26, 2016, Border Patrol cameras spotted a group of approximately eight unidentified subjects wading across the Rio Grande from Mexico to Laredo, Texas. The area was well-known for both narcotics and noncitizen smuggling. Agents from the Laredo South Border Patrol Station responded.
A few minutes later, agents searching the area observed a group of people running toward downtown Laredo. The agents identified themselves and ordered the group to stop, but they ran back toward the riverbank instead. Agents moved towards the riverbank in an attempt to locate and apprehend the group.
While searching the area, an agent K-9 handler and his dog encountered a male subject hiding in the brush. The subject kicked the handler on the shin and then kicked the dog in the snout. The handler pulled the dog back to prevent further injury to her, at which time the subject ran towards the riverbank. The handler immediately alerted a nearby agent via radio that a subject was heading in his direction.
When that agent encountered the subject, the subject attempted to strike him with a closed fist, and a physical struggle ensued. The agent ordered the subject to stop resisting, but the subject refused and continued fighting the agent. During the struggle, the subject reached for the agent’s firearm. The subject was able to pull the firearm from the holster, but it got caught up on the agent’s body armor, which prevented the subject from taking possession of the weapon.
The agent immediately grabbed the subject’s arm and pushed him away, but the subject quickly regained his balance and started to come back toward the agent. The agent was physically exhausted and did not know if the subject was armed or why he kept coming at him. As the subject charged him, the agent fired one round from his CBP-issued handgun at the subject.
The subject then became more enraged and continued to move toward the agent while flailing his arms and yelling erratically. The agent fired a second round at the subject, at which time the subject stopped, turned around and continued yelling loudly as made his way back to the riverbank.
The subject was not struck by either of the rounds fired and crossed the river back to Mexico.
Result of the NUFRB
The CBP National Use of Force Review Board (NUFRB) determined that the applications of force were in compliance with CBP Use of Force Policy that was 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 a formal recommendation following their consideration of this incident.