Four horseback agents WILL be disciplined over Haitian migrant rein photos: Border officials say they were unprofessional and used unnecessary force but did NOT hit ‘whip’ them
- Customs and Border Protection released their 500-page report on Friday
- It concluded the agents acted unprofessionally and used unnecessary force
- However, the investigation found the agents did not strike the Haitian migrants
- The images taken in September 2021 sparked a firestorm from the White House
- 15,000 Haitian migrants had gathered in Del Rio after crossing the border
- 8,000 were quickly expelled under Title 42 , the border COVID restrictions
- Biden insisted the agents would ‘pay’ for their actions near the border
- However, the initial reports that the migrants were ‘whipped’ was debunked
Customs and Border Protection has referred four horseback agents accused of whipping Haitian migrants in September 2021 for disciplinary action.
A 500-page report released by the agency on Friday said the agents acted unprofessionally, unsafely and used unnecessary force – but concluded they did not strike the migrants with their reins.
The results of the investigation came as the U.S. still grapples with a surge in migrants across the border and reports of law enforcement morale declining.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said the disciplinary investigation is still ongoing but would not release details of any action taken. He also didn’t identify the employees involved.
The images taken in September 2021 of agents on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, sparked a humanitarian outcry and a strong response from Biden calling for the officers to ‘pay’ for their treatment of Haitians.
The report outlined the agents’ inappropriate behavior toward Haitians, including yelling profanity and insults related to a migrant’s national origin.
It also said agents used unnecessary force against migrants attempting to reenter the United States with food.
It found one agent on horseback grabbed a man and spun him around.
Customs and Border Protection has referred four horseback agents falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants in September 2021 for disciplinary action
The images taken in September 2021 sparked a firestorm and a strong response from Biden calling for them to ‘pay’ for their treatment of Haitians
According to the report, one agent ‘acted in an unsafe manner by pursuing the individual he had yelled at along the river’s edge, forcing his horse to narrowly maneuver around a small child.’
The incident originated, the report found, when Texas’ Department of Public Security (DPS) officials also on the scene asked for assistance from Border Patrol. A lack of clear command lead the agents to inappropriately follow DPS instructions to prevent migrants from crossing the river back into the United States.
Migrants were frequently crossing into Mexico to bring back food and supplies that were scarce in the makeshift encampment under a bridge.
Initial reports said the migrants were being ‘whipped’ – but the claim was quickly debunked.
It was later clarified that the agents were swirling their long reins, to control the horses, and were not actually raising the leather straps to beat the migrants.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said the disciplinary investigation is still ongoing, would not release details of any action taken and didn’t identify the employees involved
Up to 15,000 migrants set up camp under and around the Del Rio International Bridge, using a dam area to cross between the Mexico and US side of the border
Up to 15,000 migrants set up camp under and around the Del Rio International Bridge, using a dam area to cross between the Mexico and US side of the border.
About 8,000 were rapidly expelled in the weeks that followed under a COVID-era order known as Title 42.
In November the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declined to press criminal charges.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in September that the investigation would be completed in ‘days, not weeks’.
But since then the OPR, the border patrol’s Office of Personnel Responsibility, has been reviewing photographs and interviewing witnesses and agents.
On Thursday Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott said he had authorized the Texas National Guard and state authorities to ‘apprehend’ migrants and transport them to the border with Mexico.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the apprehension of migrants is a federal issue and accused Abbott of meddling.
Magnus said in an earlier statement that the ‘hateful images’ on the ‘deeply offensive’ coins angered him and distracted from the essential work of the Border Patrol.