Photo: Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr. was sentenced to abuse of a boy who claimed no injury
A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been sentenced to two years in prison for improperly handling a teenage drug smuggling suspect he had handcuffed.
Prosecutors claimed agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz was responsible for the bruises sustained by a 15-year-old boy during an October 2008 arrest near the Ro Grande in Texas.
Diaz, 31, was charged with depriving the teenager of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force when he lifted the boy improperly by his arms, and put his knee in his back.
Diaz’s attorneys said that no injuries were sustained from a knee to the boy’s back, just as no injuries were caused to the boy’s wrists where the handcuffs where.
The defense argued that Diaz lifted the boy by his arms in order to get him to the ground, a technique used by most officers. In the end, more than 150 pounds of marijuana were retrieved by agents near the arrest site.
Diaz had stayed with the young suspect while agents looked for drugs that had reportedly been smuggled across the river in bundles.
The 15-year-old was given immunity to testify against Diaz, who was sentenced to two years by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum in San Antonio, even after being cleared of any wrongdoing by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
In court, the boy testified that he had not received any injuries on the day of his arrest, and only said his shoulders were soar, which was attributed to carrying the nearly 75-pound pack.
Other agents went to their on-duty supervisor after the arrest, and only after they went to a local Whataburger restaurant, saying they had witnessed the alleged assault.