The Mexican government objects to the Justice Department’s decision not to charge the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a teenager at the border in Nogales, Sonora, in 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a written statement.
Last Friday, the Justice Department said it wasn’t prosecuting the Border Patrol agents who shot and killed Ramses Barrón Torres and another teen — Carlos LaMadrid — in separate incidents along the Arizona border. There wasn’t enough evidence to file federal civil-rights charges or to prove the agents weren’t acting in self-defense, the department said in a news release.
On the Barrón Torres case, the Justice Department also said it lacked jurisdiction because he was slain on the Mexican side of the border.
Through the Mexican Consulate in Nogales, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned cross-border shootings and restated “its disapproval of the use of lethal force in immigration control.”
At least 19 people have been shot and killed by Border Patrol agents since 2010 — six have been cross-border shootings — and many of the incidents involve rock-throwing. Border Patrol agents are taught to use deadly force only when they or others are threatened with death. Rocks are considered to be potentially lethal.
The Mexican government said it will redouble efforts to implement the Joint Declaration Mexico-United States on the Prevention of Violence in the Border Region and the Border Violence Protocols — binational initiatives to prevent and respond to future incidents — and “reiterates its call for the U.S. government to act accordingly,” the statement read.
Barrón Torres, 17, was among three people throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, the Justice Department said, even after the agents asked them to stop. An autopsy determined the cause of death was a bullet that entered through his right arm and went through his chest, puncturing his lungs and spleen.
LaMadrid, 19, was shot in the back several times as he climbed a ladder against the border fence to evade authorities in March 2011. The government said the Douglas teen was in the line of fire because people were throwing rocks at the agents from the top of the fence. The family is suing the government in federal court.
The Mexican government did not take a specific position on the LaMadrid shooting case, noting he was a U.S. citizen.
The 2012 fatal shooting of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, who was killed in October in Nogales, Sonora, is still being investigated. Authorities said a group of people were throwing rocks when a Border Patrol agent fired through the border fence, but a witness has said Elena Rodriguez wasn’t throwing rocks.