Unbelievable Border Incident

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    The Border Patrol Inquisition
    By Debra J. Saunders, The San Francisco Chronicle
    August 24, 2006

    BE A BORDER Patrol agent: Do your job, go to prison. That's how the job must look to agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

    In February 2005, the agents tried to stop a van driven by drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila near the Mexico border. After a scuffle with Compean, Aldrete-Davila fled on foot. Ramos says he saw a gun -- which the smuggler denies. Both agents fired at Aldrete-Davila, who fell, but continued his escape across the border. After he got away, Ramos and Compean filed a report on the 743 pounds of marijuana they found in the van, but not on the gunfire. As it turns out, Ramos had shot Aldrete-Davila in the butt. A Homeland Security agent heard about the episode, went to Mexico and offered Aldrete-Davila immunity, if he testified against Ramos and Compean.

    U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton prosecuted the agents. In March, a jury found them guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, obstructing justice, lying about the incident and willfully violating Aldrete-Davila's Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure. Because there was gunfire, the mandatory-minimum prison sentence the agents will serve is 10 years. The U.S. Probation Office in El Paso, Texas, has recommended 20 years -- 20 years away from their wives and children, and among the type of people they've put behind bars.

    As for Aldrete-Davila, he faces no charges for the 743 pounds of pot. That leaves him free to carry out his plan to sue the Border Patrol -- that is, U.S. taxpayers -- for $5 million because his civil rights were violated. What a country.

    Ramos, who was nominated Border Patrol Agent of the year in 2005, told the San Bernardino County Sun, "There's murderers and child rapists that are looking at less time than me."

    At the heart of the prosecution is a vehicle-pursuit policy that makes absolutely no sense. As Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof explained to the Sun, "It is a violation of Border Patrol regulations to go after someone who is fleeing." It's like a no-arrest policy.

    No surprise, Border Patrol agents routinely ignore the regs. As Ramos responded to Kanof, "How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people? Everybody who's breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?"

    Maybe the answer is: Not.

    T.J. Bonner, president of the agents' union, the National Border Patrol Council, believes this prosecution will discourage agents from doing their jobs. Worse, the agents go to jail, while the smuggler got immunity -- and an incentive ($5 million) to claim he was unarmed, which can't be verified, because he fled.

    Last week, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the case, as she fears this prosecution may represent "a serious miscarriage of justice." It does.

    U.S. Attorney Sutton's office cannot comment on the case until sentencing, but referred me to a statement, that explains, "They were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender, but, while his open hands were held in the air, Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of his shotgun." Later the agents picked up shell casings and failed to file a gunfire report.

    Sutton's best point: A jury found the two agents guilty of all charges except attempted murder.

    As Bonner sees it, the most punishment the agents deserve is a five-day suspension for not reporting the shooting. Say, for argument's sake, that the agents were wrong to shoot at Aldrete-Davila. They were wrong to not file a report. Discipline them. Fire them, even. But don't send them to prison for decades for a bad split-second decision and failure to file a report.

    If they were crooks, they would serve shorter time. Last month, a Border Patrol agent, who admitted to smuggling 100 illegal immigrants while he served on the Border Patrol, got five years. (Prosecutors had recommended three years, but in San Diego, U.S. District Judge John Houston increased the sentence, telling the man, "You violated the sacred trust of your comrades. As a link in the chain, they depended on you.")

    Compean's attorney, Maria Ramirez, told me that her client, a first-generation American, served honorably in the U.S. Navy, then worked for the Border Patrol. He had a home, now sold, a wife and two children. Another child is on the way. But in the 15 minutes after the agents saw that van, after one split-second judgment call, his life melted away: "In 15 minutes it's gone, just gone."

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/08/24/EDG0SJ7N2K1.DTL
     
  2. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Amazing if true. On the surface it sucks. I am wondering if there is more to the story since issues like this are rarely cut and dried.

    But, the HS Agent who actually expended effort to offer immunity to the scum sucking criminal pig should be slowly impaled on an extra long bureaucrats spear (aka a #2 pencil).
     
  3. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    I can't even formulate a verbal response to this... All I got is :wtf:

    And what is up with the dude hunting down the smuggler, offering him immunity, and a huge incentive for testifying? Why did he have it in for his fellow officers? I have to agree with you Pegwinn... there has to be more to this.
     
  4. archangel
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    when the government hires Special Agents...now under HS...to justify their existence...Most of these agents have absolutely no field experience and are right out of college recruitment...Did the BP agents fail to include in their report the shooting incident..it appears as if they did...but to prosecute them for felonies and go out of ones way to locate the so called victim is really out there!(especially when this scum bag becomes a government witness) In my humble opinion the US Attorney should 'decline prosecution' and recommend administrative action on the BP agents for failing to include the shooting incident in their report...maybe two weeks non paid leave would be appropriate...anything else is a witch hunt and the S/A who took this to this level should be terminated from his or her postion!


    Side note: Back in 1977 we had a similar incident while I was working the San Luis Az/Mexican border...we had stopped mules carrying approximately 200 kilos of MJ...they all scattered and ran for the Mexican border...One Patrol Officer in my group was a little overweight and from NY...as he ran toward the fleeing mules he tripped on a 'Burm' and his shotgun discharged and hit one mule in the butt...the rest escaped...needless to say a overzealous S/A tried to have the Patrol Officer prosecuted for excessive force...luckily for him I witnessed the incident and wrote a incident report to the US Attorney explaining what really occurred...charges were dropped as the US Attorney took my word for it as I had a exceptional record with many citations...I will pray for these Border Patrol Agents and their families...this can really wreak havock on morale!
     
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  5. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    Arch! How are you? :)
     
  6. archangel
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    archangel Guest

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    LOL...I'm cool just took a needed vacation from this forum...how about you?
     
  7. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    I can understand that. I'm well. :beer:
     
  8. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    You ole broken down Fart, I just do naps!:cheers2:
     
  9. archangel
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    archangel Guest

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    Old fart...ya thats me...broken down..no way Jose...just need to take a vacation once in awhile...kinda/sorta a natural 'Viagra':laugh:
     
  10. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    :thup: Boy do I need that right now! A vacation that is.
     

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