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When police abuse charges come to court

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A federal prosecution is underway in Texas against United States Border Patrol officer Jesus Enrique Diaz Jr., who allegedly tortured a sixteen-year-old alleged drug smuggler to get him to divulge the location of marijuana.

The criminal case ended in a mistrial last Thursday when a juror contravened the judge’s instruction not to take notes. The prosecution plans to re-try the case.

The allegations (and they are only allegations at this point, there having been no conviction) are gruesome, not only based on officer Diaz’s alleged behavior, but also based on the testimony of witnessing officers that no officer intervened to stop the torture.

The Los Angeles Times article on the case references trial testimony about the dehumanization by some or many Border Patrol officers, by calling detained migrants “bodies”.  The article continues:

The Border Patrol treats detainees “very, very poorly,” said Tony Payan, a political scientist who studies the agency at the University of Texas at El Paso. “They see themselves as a quasi-military body defending the country. Add to that the fact that they are expanding rapidly, and you have thousands of rookies who have very little experience.”

Thanks to the Facebook member who posted the article on this case.