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Latino Daily News

Monday June 6, 2011

Immigrant Advocates Ask For More Officer Training At Border Following Taser Deaths

Immigrant Advocates Ask For More Officer Training At Border Following Taser Deaths

Photo: Advocates Ask For More Officer Training At Border

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Immigrant advocates have grown increasingly worried over the number of Taser and shooting deaths involving federal border officers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Groups like the American Friends Service Committee wonder if the officers were not trained properly as the number of them at the border rose very quickly.

Christian Ramirez with AFSC told SignOnSanDiego, “The narrative of Washington has become that the border is out of control and an iron fist must be used. If it is an immigrant that is being beaten up, people think he got what he deserved.”

Last year, an undocumented immigrant was Tasered in San Ysidro and later died in U.S. custody. Since then, four more immigrants have died in shootings or Taserings by border agents.

Ramirez and advocates from other border states have met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials a number of times since 2009 seeking change, but the groups say that little has changed.

CBP released a statement in which they said they were unaware “of any deaths caused by electrical pulses” from Taser guns.

The statement continues saying, “Agents and officers are trained to use only that force which is both reasonable and necessary in any given situation, considering the totality of circumstances and the following factors: the severity of the offense at issue, whether the subject poses an immediate threat to safety of the agent/officer or others, whether the subject is resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.”

But Ramirez and the other groups are not accepting that, and maintain that officers at the border need to undergo more in-depth training.

“Something is wrong. Either the training is off or something is going on,” said Ramirez.