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Latino Daily News

Thursday May 3, 2012

Families of Border Patrol Victims Seek Justice

Families of Border Patrol Victims Seek Justice

Photo: Anatascio Hernandez Death Remembered

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The family of immigrant Anastacio Hernandez, who died at the hands of the Border Patrol, will take part in a march in San Diego to ask for justice.

The march will begin on Thursday evening with the presence of Hernandez’s widow, Maria Puga, accompanied by his siblings, his parents, who arrived from Mexico, and members of several organizations.

Pedro Rios, the president of the board of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, which gathers 25 groups that will participate in the march, told Efe that there will also be simultaneous demonstrations in the cities of San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Calexico, California and in Texas.

“The marches will be focused on the case of Anastacio Hernandez, but providing context for what is not unique but has happened to at least eight other residents of border communities dead at the hands of the Border Patrol since 2010,” Rios said.

Martin Hernandez Rojas, the victim’s brother, asked the Hispanic community to join Thursday’s vigil and march.

“We’re only asking for justice to be done, for the people responsible to be punished. This has affected the family in every way. We’re trying to ensure it’s not forgotten, but at the same time it’s difficult to remember. ... We feel bad, but we’re not satisfied until something is done,” Hernandez told Efe.

A recently broadcast PBS documentary presented new video material on Hernandez’s death, almost two years ago, showing how at least a dozen agents surrounded the victim while he was lying face down, handcuffed, beating him and using a taser on him at least five times while the immigrant asked for help.

“There continue to be many anomalies on the border. My brother Ricardo is seeking to pressure the government in Mexico for help. I think that if the families unite we will have more strength and something good has to the fact that the Justice Department has not made public any investigation into the case despite the emergence of new witnesses.

“They have also not formally requested a copy of the video. To exert pressure, we’ve planned a trip by the Hernandez Rojas family to Washington D.C. to meet with legislators and ask them to take action to pressure the Justice Department. So far, we have the support of Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona,” he said.

Ramirez added that one of the goals of the campaign is for the Border Patrol to implement transparency mechanisms, such as for example in its training manual, “which due to the lack of formal charges would seem to allow 12 agents to stand around witnessing it while Anastacio was brutally tortured.”