U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not change its use-of-force policy against rock throwers, which allows agents to resort to lethal weapons, the agency’s leader has announced. The decision comes after an outside reviewer recommended otherwise, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher told The Associated Press that such a revision would make the policy very restrictive. The Police Executive Research Forum, which conducted an audit at the agency’s request, had concluded that agents should stop using lethal force.
The review came in response to criticism from civil-rights advocates and some leaders in border communities of the agency’s use-of-force standards after more than 20 people died during the past three years in incidents involving Border Patrol agents. Eight of those cases included rock throwing.
“We shouldn’t have carve-outs in our policy and say, ‘except for this, except for that,’ ” Fisher told The Associated Press in a story published Tuesday. “Just to say that you shouldn’t shoot at rock throwers or vehicles for us, in our environment, was very problematic and could potentially put Border Patrol agents in danger.”
“At this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” said OSP Capt. Timothy Fox, in an apparent jab at District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s recent announcement that he would be dropping a significant portion of the more than 500 criminal cases brought over the course of the demonstrations.