The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is investigating the use of force by Customs and Border Protection agents in Arizona, according to a Buzzfeed report.
According to Buzzfeed, the Civil Rights Division has opened at least two investigations into CBP shooting deaths in Arizona.
“The involvement of Justice Department headquarters could represent a significant shift in how the Obama administration is addressing violence along the border,” Buzzfeed’s John Stanton reported Sunday night. “FBI investigators almost never bring criminal charges against CBP agents and officers, and human rights organizations have accused the administration of turning a blind eye towards the border.”
Neither the Justice Department nor Customs and Border Protection responded to Breitbart News’s requests for comment Monday.
According to a Friday report in the Nogales International, however, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wallace Kleindienst and Karen Rolley were at the location of CBP’s 2012 shooting death of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez along the Arizona-Mexico border last week. Buzzfeed reported Sunday as well that a law enforcement source said Civil Rights Division staff were on the scene.
Elena Rodriguez was a 16-year-old Mexican who died on the Mexico side of the border after Border Patrol shot him. CBP has argued that Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents.
The investigations come less than a month after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Border Patrol on behalf of Elena Rodriguez’s family.
“I don’t think that timing was necessarily coincidental,” James Lyall, ACLU of Arizona staff attorney, told Nogales International about the timing of the federal investigators’ visit to the shooting scene. “Certainly, there was nothing preventing them from doing this many months ago. I think it’s an open question as to why it took almost two years for this step to be taken.”