Pedestrians crossing the U.S./Mexico border from San Ysidro to Tijuana pass through a long narrow corridor called the Puerta México. On the evening of May 28 Anastasio Hernández Rojas, 42 years old, was tasered and beaten to death by Border Patrol agents in a fenced off, official area abutting this passageway. A border crosser who wished not to be identified told Diario San Diego, a local binational Spanish language weekly, that she had witnessed the beating by four or five agents as she and several other people waited to pass through the nearby turnstile that provides pedestrian entry to Mexico.
Protesters gather near the border at the
San Ysidro, Calif., trolley stop.
WW photo: Bob McCubbin
“There weren’t many people around at the time,” she told the reporter. “When I found out later that this was the person that died, it made me very angry and I don’t want this death to go unpunished.”
This is not the story given out by the Border Patrol or repeated by the local corporate media. According to them there was no beating and Hernández’ death was the result of hypertension and the traces of methamphetamine that they reported were found in his blood. But his cousin, Verónica Hernández, was able to view his body in a Chula Vista hospital and declared it “bastante golpeado”[badly beaten]. She also commented that her cousin had no history of drug abuse. Further, the medical report on his death ruled it a homicide.
Anastasio Hernández Rojas
The statement of the Raza Rights Coalition and the American Friends Service Committee calling for a protest against this latest act of violence against the Latino/a community read in part, “The killing of Anastasio Hernández Rojas by Border Patrol agents is a clear indication of the climate of hate and repression that is being fomented every day against migrant communities and is tied to the current genocidal and murderous governmental policy.
“The border communities of San Diego repudiate and denounce this aggression against human and civil rights in general, and the impunity evident with the murder of Mr. Hernández Rojas in particular. Furthermore, we demand a swift and transparent investigation of this lamentable case.
“Words can’t describe the extremely violent acts that resulted in the death of Anastasio. Our silent protest will help expose the cruelty of a militarized border that is built upon a foundation of hate and repression.”
A June 3 mobilization against the senseless killing of Hernández drew hundreds of community residents and activists to the San Ysidro trolley stop near the border crossing. Rejecting a police order that they not march to and rally at the Puerta México turnstile, they defiantly crossed the pedestrian bridge, under which hundreds of slow-moving vehicles waited for passage into Tijuana.
As the motorists became aware of the protesters on the bridge, many of whom were chanting, “Justicia! Justicia!” [Justice, Justice] the clamor of car horns became deafening. At the turnstile a binational rally and vigil took place, with the participation on the Mexico side of the turnstile by Tijuanenses mobilized by the Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos de Baja California.
Hernández, a 26-year resident of San Diego, leaves behind a spouse and five children who are U.S. citizens. He is remembered as a hard worker and a good father and friend. Anastasio Hernández Rojas, ¡presente!
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Mexican Teenager Shot Dead on Mexican Soil by US Border Agent:
Sergio Adrian Hernandez
Cell phone video appears to show US border patrol killing Mexican teen
By David Edwards
Thursday, June 10th, 2010 -- 9:16 am
AG Holder calls shooting 'extremely regrettable'
A cell phone video has surfaced showing a US border patrol officer shooting a Mexican boy in Ciudad Juarez. Fourteen-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca was on the Mexican side of the border when he was shot and killed.
The video, obtained by CNN, captures several people running below a railroad bridge that connects the U.S. to Mexico. An officer can be seen getting off his bicycle and moving towards the figures. One person is apprehended by the officer on the Mexican side of the border.
Soon after, the officer is seen pointing his gun at a suspect who is standing on the Mexican side of the border. At least two gunshots can be heard on the tape. A third gunshot is heard moments later.
"They're throwing rocks," can be heard in Spanish, according to CNN. "They hit him... they hit him," the witness says.
Following the shooting, US officials have been scrambling to deflect criticism and paint the dead teenager as a "juvenile smuggler."
CNN noted that FBI spokesperson special agent Andrea Simmons' account differed from the video.
The video contradicts Simmons' account who said: "This agent, who had the second subject detained on the ground, gave verbal commands to the remaining subjects to stop and retreat. However, the subjects surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him. The agent then fired his service weapon several times, striking one subject who later died."
The tape does not appear to show the suspects throwing rocks.
AG Holder calls shooting 'extremely regrettable'
Attorney General Eric Holder made a statement Thursday on the shooting. CNN reported:
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday declared the fatal shooting of a Mexican teenager at the border "extremely regrettable," and said the FBI was leading an investigation into the incident involving the U.S. Border Patrol.
"Let me express our sincere regrets about the loss of life for that 14-year-old youngster. That was extremely regrettable," Holder told reporters at a Justice Department news conference.
Holder said he had seen some of the video which has surfaced showing Mexican youths retreating about the time of the shooting.
"I've only seen a bit of the tape. I've not seen it in its entirety, but that would be something that will obviously be examined as the investigation goes on. I won't say that will be a critical piece of the investigation, because we don't know what the dimensions of the investigation will be, but that will certainly be a part of what the investigators will look at," the attorney general said.
Watch the video from CNN.com, broadcast June 9, 2010: