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Justice for Nogales Teen Killed by Border Patrol

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Nov 19, 2012

Memorial for José Antonio at a Day of the Dead Border Vigil in Nogales. (Credit: David Icely)

On the night of October 10, around 11:30 pm, José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year-old resident of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on Mexican soil. This tragedy hit home for me because José Antonio was killed on a street I know well in the border community where I live. But this incident is not unique. There have been 18 violent killings by Border Patrol or Customs and Border Protection agents since 2010—including a similar one in Nogales in January 2011. To my shame, I failed to raise my voice then.

The known circumstances of these killings strongly suggest unnecessary or excessive use of force. Please join me in denouncing them and calling for action.

The agent that killed José Antonio fired on him from atop a 25-foot embankment and from behind a 20-foot-tall protective steel border wall. José Antonio was shot in the back 13 times, with two bullets found in his head. He was unarmed. He died only a couple blocks from his house. These facts leave me with no doubt that this was an unlawful killing.

Six weeks have passed. The FBI, tasked with investigating the incident, has released no official statements, and has neither identified nor arrested the agent involved. The identities of officers involved in shootings are public information, and many in this border community, where I and other No More Deaths volunteers live and work, see José Antonio’s death as a clear case of bloody murder.

Please join me in urging the Department of Justice and the FBI to act transparently and decisively to end this unnecessary violence.

The excessive use of force that resulted in the deaths of José Antonio and 17 others is not the action of isolated “bad apples.” Rather, it is a consequence of the Border Patrol’s militarized approach to border enforcement, and it shows a callousness that is consistent with the findings of No More Deaths’ 2011 report Culture of Cruelty, which documented 32,075 incidents of mistreatment of migrants in Border Patrol custody.

We seek justice for José Antonio’s family and an end to these killings. Please take action and make your voice heard.

For justice and for peace,

David Hill
No More Deaths volunteer

The message above went out on Monday, November 19, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

3 Responses to “Justice for Nogales Teen Killed by Border Patrol”

  1. Sue Lefebvre says:

    Many thanks, David. Great article

  2. Sue Lefebvre says:

    Great article, David. Thanks, Sue

  3. Joel Antonio Garcia says:

    On this day Feb. 9, 2015 at approx. 10:15 p.m. while riding the city bus in South Tucson, AZ a crazy looking man gave me a paper with a picture of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriquez on it whom I have never heard of; it read as follows “Justice for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriquez” shortly after I arrived home I googled his name and found this website. Great job sir and to those who give the voiceless a voice!!! I am the child of a Salvadoran refugee who came from the 1980′s Salvadoran civil war. I was raised in Tucson and am currently studying law and political science in the name of those without a voice!! I have witnessed 1st hand many injustices in our communities and i am working hard to make a change! I just wanted to inform you that people and organizations like this inspire me very much, they edify my spirit on another level!! Thank you so mcuh!!! RIP Jose and to those who must suffer the injustices no one speaks of. One day we shall rise……much love to everyone who gets to read this nothing but love for the People!

    #KnowledgeisPower #PowertothePeople

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