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Customs & Border Protection releases 'whipping' incident findings: no evidence agent struck migrants

The letter from Commissioner Chris Magnus mentions that disciplinary action against agents may still be pursued

Published: July 8, 2022 1:48pm

Updated: July 8, 2022 2:38pm

Customs and Border Protection Commission Chris Magnus on Friday issued an internal letter stating a final report on the September 2021 incident at the southern U.S. border in which horse-backed CBP officers appear to be whipping illegal migrants found "no evidence any agents struck – intentionally or otherwise – any migrant with their reins."

The investigation was lead by agency's Office of Professional Responsibility following allegations that the agents had indeed whipping migrants at the Texas border crossing. 

Still, Magnus acknowledged "a lack of command and control" during the incident, which created further confusion during an already chaotic situation. And he said some agents threatened to use force to drive back migrants and yelled offensive comments at one about his country of origin.

"We realize the situation in Del Rio at the time of this incident was chaotic, unprecedented, and overwhelming," he wrote.  "In almost every instance, you did your jobs in a manner that exceeded expectations ... . Your efforts saved lives. Unfortunately, this incident overshadowed your great work which we can appreciate was – and continues to be – very frustrating."

During the period in September of last year in which the incident occurred, nearly 30,000 migrants attempted to enter the United States near the Del Rio International Bridge, which the report says is "the largest single mass migration event in our agency's history."

Separately, The Daily Caller reports that CBP had proposed two charges against agents related to the matter.

The first charge, according to the outlet, is for "poor judgement" in instructing the illegal migrants to return to the land of their origin.

The second is for "unsafe conduct," related to an agent maneuvering his horse in a way that "caused a noncitizen to fall backward into the Rio Grande River ... thereby compromising the safety of the noncitizen, yourself, and your horse." 

"You knew or should have known that using your horse to block a noncitizen from exiting the water at the boat ramp created an unsafe situation, particularly for the noncitizen, but also for you and your horse," the charge reads.

The maneuvering of a horse in an unsafe manner was mentioned in the letter written by Magnus.

In the section of the letter titled: "To address these problems, CBP is doing the following," Magnus includes the bullet point, "pursuing discipline against certain agents as appropriate."

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