A grand jury on Wednesday indicted an American Border Patrol agent for the shooting of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Rodriguez during an incident at the border separating the state of Arizona from Mexico in October 2012. The shooting further polarized the public, with illegal immigrants and their supporters on one side while pro-police and anti-amnesty supporters on the other side of the explosive border security issue.
Those applauding the case being brought before a federal grand jury, cheered when they heard former agent Lonnie Swartz would stand trial for his killing the Mexican teenager. The results of the current indictment are a far cry from what occurred in a similar case in which a 15-year-old named Hernandez Guereca was shot across the border and killed. In that case, a three-judge panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally said Hernandez Guereca's family could sue the city of Mesa, Arizona, but the full court overturned the June 2010 ruling in April 2015.
The federal grand jury on Wednesday handed down an indictment against Border Patrol agent Swartz, charging him with second-degree murder. On Oct. 10, 2012, Swartz allegedly fired his service weapon through the border fence into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, killing Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The teen's family has already filed a civil lawsuit, according to Homeland Security Newswire.
CBS News reported that Border Patrol officials said in 2014 that Swartz fired his handgun after being pelted with large rocks that were thrown over the fence as agents and police officers tried to stop two suspected drug smugglers. His family says the boy was walking home from a basketball game with friends and was not armed or throwing rocks. The medical examiner claimed at the time that teenager was shot a total of ten times.
"The CBS report and other statements in the media would have civilians believe there was excessive force, but that's not necessarily so," said former police training officer Manny Roccia. "Being struck in the head or other area by a rock thrown at about 50 or 60 miles per hour could seriously injure a cop or even kill him or her if it strikes a sensitive part of the head or body," Roccia said.
According to Swartz's defense team leader, Sean Chapman, the decorated agent will plead not guilty when he's arraigned on October 9. Chapman told news outlets that he expects the case will be tried in court. CBS News reporter Anna Werner without giving a source for her allegation, said there have been several similar cases involving shootings by Border Patrol agents. However, she failed to provide examples or neglected to describe the circumstances.
"The media seems to forget the cases of Border Patrol agents being killed by border crashers, such as the Fast and Furious scandal's Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and other agents killed in cold-blood. In fact, last week the federal government finally got around to trying two suspects in Agent Terry's murder," said former police detective and narcotics agent Melanie Porchost.
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a contributor to WPTF, Raleigh, North Carolina.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
In addition, he's a commentator for newsradio WPTF, Raleigh, NC, and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He holds a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice from Southwest University and SCI Technical School in New York City and completed training at the NYC Police Academy, FBI Continuing Education Program, and the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) of the American Society for Industrial Security.
Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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