The National Police Association (NPA) announced Thursday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) & Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for communications and records pertaining to the allegations by the Biden Administration against mounted Border Patrol agents in the "Whipping" incident.

The NPA filed the lawsuit after DHS and CBP State failed to reply to a February 22, 2022, FOIA request for:

1. all records depicting or describing the findings of the "investigative work" done by U.S.  Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility on the September 19, 2021 incident. For purposes of this numbered request and for all that follow the term "the September 19, 2021 incident" means "Allegations made against or about United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents "whipping" or otherwise engaging migrants attempting to cross into the United States in or near the Rio Grande River near Del Rio, Texas during the migrants' encounter with CBP agents on September 19, 2021. Photographs of this encounter were taken by El Paso freelance journalist Paul Ratje."

  1. All records depicting or describing the conclusions of the "investigative work" done by U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CPB) Office of Professional Responsibility on "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  2. all records depicting or describing the analysis of the "investigative work" done by U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility on "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  3. all records of communications between the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the White House referring to "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  4. all records of communications between the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the media referring to "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  5. all records, including emails, texts and other communications from the White House staff to the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas or his staff mentioning or referring to "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  6. all records, including emails, texts and other communications from the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas or his staff to the White House mentioning or referring to "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.
  7. all records, including emails, texts and other communications from the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas or his staff to the Office of the Inspector General mentioning or referring to "the September 19, 2021 incident" as described above.

Defendants have allegedly violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to issue a determination within the statutory period, by failing to conduct a reasonable search, and by failing to produce the responsive, nonexempt records.

On September 19, 2021, mounted Border Patrol agents conducting routine protection duties were photographed intercepting illegal aliens attempting to cross into the United States. Some of those photographs captured the agents using their reins in a twirling motion to direct the horses and to keep the migrants at a distance. Some photos showed the agents taking hold of the migrants to push them away from the horses to protect the migrants from being stepped on.

Upon publication of the photos, the agents were falsely accused of "whipping" the migrants. This despite the freelance reporter who took the photos stating no such thing happened. The official investigation came immediately. It was followed just as quickly with false and defamatory attacks against the reputations of the agents from the highest levels of government.

The NPA's FOIA request was for the purpose of disclosing communications which prove the Administration knew or should have known that their accusations against the Board Patrol agents were false when made or immediately thereafter.

Despite the Administration knowing their accusations against the Board Patrol agents were false no apologies have been forthcoming and the agents have remained on administrative duty pending the results of the investigation which must have cleared them months ago.

NPA spokesperson Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith (Ret.) said "Recent media reports indicate the Administration is planning to charge the agents with "administrative violations" to save face and prevent the need to admit the whipping accusations were false, defamatory, and unconscionable. We believe our lawsuit will result in DHS and CBP conforming to the law and handing over the communications and documents that prove the Administration knew their accusations against these agents were false and took no corrective action.

The NPA's lawsuit can be viewed here: https://nationalpolice.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/NPA-v-DHS-CBP.pdf

The National Police Association (NPA) is a 501(c)3 Educational/Advocacy non-profit organization. For additional information visit www.nationalpolice.org.

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