Last month we reported on the case of Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas and his death in the US possibly at the hands of some rogue US Border Patrol agents. Rojas was being deported back to Mexico only he was separated out for private transport to the US-Mexico border by US Border Patrol. Once at the border agents began assaulting Rojas using a taser and stripping off his pants. Rojas died as a result of that
assault. Ironically, Rojas had filed a lawsuit against one of the border agents and it was that very agent who separated Rojas from the rest of the group to be taken back to Mexico and it was that agent who transported Rojas to the border. The assault by several agents of the USBP was filmed by pedestrians on a catwalk above where the incident took place. Some of those people yelled at the agents to stop their assault but they did not and agents told them to just keep walking. Some agents then tried taking cell phones from the pedestrians who have filmed or photographed the assault on Rojas. You can find that story we did last month on Rojas at the link below.
In the latest development involving the Rojas case this past Thursday in cities across the US protestors took to demonstrating demanding that the US Justice Department conduct a more thorough investigation into the assault, beating, tasing, and death of Rojas at the hand of US Border Patrol agents. This assault took place in 2010 so it’s been two years now. The case recently gained new focus when PBS showed footage of the assault in a documentary. The video showed Rojas hogtied and surrounded by more than a dozen US border officers pleading for help as they were tasing him repeatedly.
The US Justice Department has maintained that they are investigating the case but critics say the DOJ has done nothing much in the past two years. They say his death is representative of a pattern of impunity among US border agents against Mexican nationals and that it shows an attitude in the DOJ of gross lack of concern when it comes to abuses committed against Mexican citizens and Hispanics by US agents. The director of Presente.org, Roberto Lovato, points out that US Attorney General Eric Holder has not requested the footage from PBS nor has he tried to find witnesses to the incident. Lovato says Holder has done nothing in this case and he wants that to change. Justice Department spokesman Xochitl Hinojosa says the DOJ investigation is ongoing and that they are reviewing the facts and evidence in order to determine if there was a violation of federal law in the Rojas case by border agents.
At the protests this past Thursday activists demanded justice and they’ve collected over 32,000 signatures on a petition about the case demanding the DOJ step up their investigation. The director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, Christian Ramirez, said that the Rojas case represents a “pattern of abuse and impunity by border patrol” that’s existed in the US for a very long time. It should be noted that civil rights complaints filed against the US Border Patrol have increased in recent years and some agents have even been brought up on charges and jailed for their treatment of Mexican and Latin American nationals.
As Ramirez notes, Rojas is not the first to suffer such abuse or lose his life as there have been many other cases. Beatings and killing of seven others have happened and some border agents seem prone to use violence to quickly. Ramirez noted the 2010 case of a 15 year old Mexican national named Sergio Hernandez-Guereca who was killed by a US border agent for throwing rocks at USBP. US prosecutors last week decided NOT to charge the agent in that death and the boy’s family has said they will continue their lawsuit against the agent.
Ana Perez who is an organizer with Presente.org told the Huffington Post that she’s disappointed in the lack of coverage in the US media on the Rojas case. She says that “no one wants to hold the Obama administration responsible.” She compared the Rojas case to the recent Trayvon Martin case that recent an enormous amount of media coverage. Martin was a 17 year old black male killed in Florida by George Zimmerman who is part Hispanic and part White. That case went viral. The Rojas case has gone nowhere in comparison. Perez says that it’s “much easier for the media to go after” someone who is not a government official like Zimmerman because no one wants to go after a federal agency or government agent. Lavota added that if there is no justice for Rojas now then the abuses on the border will only get worse.
Even the nationwide demonstrations this past Thursday were not covered by most of the mainstream media in the US. The LA Times did not even cover the demonstrations even though the demonstration in LA was the primary demonstration. Granted that Rojas broke American law by coming into the US illegal. That is a fact and not a matter of question but did that warrant his death and killing? I don’t think so. I find it very mysterious that Rojas had filed a lawsuit against one border agent for abuse and that it was that very border agent who separated Rojas out for private transport by him and another agent. Why was this agent allowed to do that? Why did the agents superior officers not question why he was singling Rojas out for private transport to the border for deportation? And then once at the border Rojas his tased and stripped and killed? That pretty much spells MURDER in my book and the DOJ should have a big priority in this case. No one should be allowed to get away with murder whether they are wearing a badge or not.
We will be doing some followups on this story as SDNP is not going to allow this case to die. Rojas deserves justice and if he was murdered then that border agents needs to be brought to justice. If not then who might he kill next time? A US citizen? Then will the MSM cover the story? Is it because Rojas was a Mexican illegal that the MSM is not covering the story and won’t even cover Thursday’s demands for justice? That’s blatant racism and hatred and that is what is bringing American society down. Yes, Rojas was in the US illegally but the FACT of the matter is he was a HUMAN BEING and that fact before anything else must be kept in mind. No human being deserves the treatment Rojas received at the hands of border agents like can be seen on the PBS video. Rojas was tased so many times that it killed him and there is no reason with a dozen agents standing around him that that should have happened. The tasing should have been stopped but it was not and agents did nothing to stop the one agent from repeatedly tasing and killing this man. With that many agents Rojas could have been handled. Hell they could have picked him up and tossed him across the border for that matter. God knows there were enough of them standing around watching! This appears to me to be an abuse of power by border agents and it needs to be completely investigated. Just because one man wore a badge and the other was here illegally is no justification for this kind of thing!
Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas deserves JUSTICE just as everyone else does in America! We cannot and must not turn our heads away from such crimes because it only makes them worse and more frequent and does nothing to stop such human rights abuses.