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Border patrol union boss slams Psaki, media for false story about horse-mounted agents

Brandon Judd says administration knew devices were reins, not whips, and approved their use.

Updated: September 21, 2021 - 3:11pm

The president of the union that represents border patrol agents on Tuesday excoriated the White House and news media for falsely suggesting horse-mounted officers were abusing illegal immigrants, saying the leather objects in viral video footage were not whips but rather reins sanctioned by the Biden administration to protect people from getting too close to the animals.

Brandon Judd, a border agent himself and president of the National Border Patrol Council, singled out White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for condemning the agents conduct as "horrible to watch" and something "they should never be able to do" again.

"There are very few things that will boil my blood as bad as the White House directly coming out and condemning an action before they know what happened," Judd told Just the News during an interview on the John Solomon Reports podcast. "Jen Psaki came out yesterday, and she condemned these actions, when in reality, it is a legitimate law enforcement action. This was meant to protect the illegal aliens."

Judd explained agents are trained for crowd control by the Homeland Security Department to "twirl the reins" if humans start approaching their horses to keep them away from getting injured, and the reins are never used to strike or harm people.

"We have to keep those individuals away from the horses," he explained. "If they get too close to the horses, the horses could step on them and they could break bones. They could kick them. They can get kicked in the head. It could cause death.

"Nobody was hit by those reins; they are not whips. The reins are used to control the horses. And so the reins will be twirled to keep people away from the horses for their protection." 

The union chief compared Psaki's comments and the media coverage to deceptive tactics used by liberal activists to argue for defunding the police.

"Of course, this is exactly how the defund police movement works," he said. "You take photos, you take a 15-second video of something that happened over a period of 10 minutes. And you take those very small clips, and you blow them up and say, 'Well, look what's happening.' When in reality it was a law enforcement movement that agents are trained to use the reins to keep people away, not hit people with those reins."

The twirling of the reins, Judd said, is included in the sanctioned training for border patrol agents.

"This is a training module that they set up, that they go through and they approve, and even this administration, every single administration, when they come in, they will look at all training that is being given, and they will decide whether the way they want to continue on with training," he explained. "And this administration even decided that they would continue on with the training of using the reins, to keep people away from the horses for their own protection."

Asked whether the media and White House accounts were inaccurate, Judd answered: "They are factually wrong, yes. And the White House knows that they're factually wrong."

Mark Morgan, who served as the acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection Agency for President Trump and head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Obama, confirmed Judd's account that the use of the reins is an approved tactic for crowd control.

"They were simply doing their job as trained," he said. "They aren't whips. They don't strike people. They are simply keeping people from being hurt by a large 900-pound-or-more animal."Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ordered an investigation into the CBP agents use of the horses, but Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz acknowledged he made the decision to deploy the horse-mounted agents to "find out if we had any individuals in distress, and be able to provide information and intelligence as to what the smuggling organizations were doing in and around the river."

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