Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Murder Trial Begins for Border Patrol Agent

This incident has been covered extensively at this blog. Now, the trial is underway with opening remarks showing the stark difference of interpretation of what happened on January 12, 2007. It's the word of the family of Javier Dominguez-Rivera against the Department of Homeland Security.
Sean Chapman told jurors that his client [Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett] was justified when he fired the fatal shot because Dominguez was threatening to "crush his head with a rock," and that Corbett had made a split-second decision to act in self-defense, as he had been trained to do.

Earlier, special prosecutor Grant Woods said in his opening remarks that 22-year-old Francisco Dominguez "was surrendering, going down on his knees, was hit from behind, yanked and shot through the heart."

Woods said that forensic and medical evidence, from ballistics information to the autopsy results, along with the witnesses' testimony and a Border Patrol video would prove that the killing was not justifiable.

The only reason this is being tried is because there is a videotape of the shooting. Otherwise, we would be seeing a repeat of the injustice surrounding the killing of Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez two years ago in southern California.
SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Department of Justice has cleared a Border Patrol agent of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a suspected smuggler whose death two years ago focused attention on increasing violence at the California-Mexico border.

The 18-year-old who died, Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez, was allegedly throwing rocks at the agent, who shot him in the upper back on a dangerous stretch of the San Diego-Tijuana border in December 2005.

Prosecutors in the Justice Department's civil rights division, who investigated whether the shooting constituted an excessive use of force, said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.


Federal prosecutors did not disclose details of their investigation. But agents said the fact that Martinez was shot in the back didn't necessarily mean he was running away. He could have just finished throwing the rock, or he could have been reaching for another, they said.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Will update information as it becomes available over the course of the proceedings.

[UPDATE] Here is a write-up by Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos. The very mention of her name makes nativist heads asplode, but she is a true champion of human rights. Hmm, perhaps that's why they can't stand her?

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