Border Patrol Agents Get Away with Murder!
Justice for Anastasio Hernández Rojas!

November 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The U.S. Justice Department announced on November 6 that no federal charges would be brought against any of the Border Patrol agents who murdered Anastasio Hernández Rojas five years ago while in their custody. Anastasio was 42, and had lived in San Diego for more than a decade with his wife and his five U.S.-born children when he was killed.

May 28, 2010, Anastasio was detained with his brother in San Diego after entering the U.S. illegally. Depositions in the civil lawsuit said they cooperated, but during their processing, Anastasio was injured by a kick from an agent. He asked for medical care, and an immigration hearing. Instead the supervisor decided he should be “voluntarily returned” to Mexico—by forcing him through the entry gate. The agents claim he resisted this deportation; and they attacked him brutally.

While handcuffed and hogtied, lying on the ground barely moving, yelling for help, he was beaten bloody by border agents, while they repeatedly said “stop resisting.” A dozen other agents stood by watching. People on the bridge at San Ysidro border crossing had been recording the inhumane beating of Rojas. So when they were finished, the killers went to the bridge and confiscated the cell phones of people who’d witnessed it, and erased their videos of the murder.

The coroner ruled Hernández Rojas’ death a homicide. His examination found he had died of a heart attack after sustaining massive injuries from the beating: “bruising to his chest, stomach, hips, knees, back, lips, head and eyelids; five broken ribs; and a damaged spine.” Despite these findings, including one video of the assault, no charges were filed.

But in 2012 a second video appeared. One woman on the bridge had hidden her cell phone when the agents took the others. She held it for two years out of fear, because it showed a man being killed. The video was aired in 2012 in a PBS report. This video clearly contradicted key evidence and testimony of the agents who killed Anastasio.

The uproar needed to be dealt with on another level, so the Justice Department stepped in. It wasn’t until over five years after the killing of Hernández Rojas that the Justice Department issued their verdict—that there was no evidence that could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernández Rojas had been murdered.

In their press release the Department of Justice wrote “a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that the evidence was insufficient to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges,” because they couldn’t prove that the Border Patrol agents had acted willfully, “with the specific intent to deprive the victim of a constitutional right.”

To which it must be said: a system where there is no right for someone not doing anything wrong to live—and to not be brutally, sadistically, tortured and murdered by a mob of police—is a system and constitution that needs to be swept away with revolution and replaced with a whole different system (and constitution) where this can never happen.

And why couldn’t they bring even a manslaughter charge against any of the agents, where they merely have to charge that the federal agents “committed a lawful act in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, that might produce death?” Because “the federal agents’ action were not done without due caution and circumspection.” Think about this: the bloody murder of a human being while restrained represents, in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Justice, the use of due caution and circumspection. What does that say about the role that the in-justice system plays, at all levels, in exonerating those they have given the monopoly to use violence against the people?

The lawyer for the family in the civil lawsuit went on to point out: “They waited until the statute of limitations ran on charging the officers with civil rights violations or assault. They waited five years, and when all that was left was murder charges, decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone with murder.” This is yet another example of the point that Bob Avakian has made: “Yes, there’s a conspiracy, to get the cops off.”

Hundreds of people demonstrated their anger in San Diego the night of the announcement of the exoneration of the killer Border Patrol agents. Maria Puga, wife of Hernández Rojas, said about the decision: “How can we believe in the government if they cannot deliver justice. From the beginning, it seemed like the investigation favored the agents; they got away with murder.” Anastasio’s mother said: “This is not justice. It seems like justice is only for the wealthy and not for the poor... The say that no one is responsible for the death of my son, but they are responsible. The agents that beat him, electrocuted him, and choked him are responsible.” And his brother Bernardo said: “If someone hits a dog, they get charged. These agents killed my brother, but nothing will happen to them. That is not right. Where is the justice?”


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