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New Report Can't Even Identify Total Number of Excessive Force Complaints Against Border Patrol

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A report yesterday from the Office for the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security revealed that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been keeping such poorly detailed and incomplete records that it is impossible to identify the number of excessive force allegations lodged against the agency.

As the report noted, neither of two separate systems—one run by OIG, the other by CPB/ICE—used to track complaints of Border Patrol misconduct use a clear way to label a given accusation as one resulting from excessive use of force.

The report also found that new CPB officers were not trained on all of the less-lethal weapons available to them, like pepper spray, and their training lacks certain aspects—like a mock border wall—which might help them learn how to better handle real-life situations and confrontations.

According to NBC Latino, at least 19 people have died as a result of alleged excessive use of force by CPB since 2010, including Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a 42-year-old man who was not resisting arrest, yet was beaten and tased to death by agents.  Frustrated by these unnecessary deaths, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and fifteen other members of Congress asked OIG to review the use of force within the CBP.

According to the New York Times, OIG reviewed 21,000 records from 2007 to 2012, which contained more than 2,000 allegations of abuse and excessive use of force. About 500 complaints could not be categorized because the records lacked enough information. Between 2006 and 2009, when the Border Patrol grew by almost 65 percent, financing for use-of-force training quadrupled.