Video of border beating submitted in lawsuit for wrongful death of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas
Last Updated: 85 days ago
A video showing a San Diego man being kicked and punched while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in 2010 resulted in public outcry and a criminal investigation.
The man, Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, later died. Now, the video is being used as evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family members.
The cell phone video shows Hernandez-Rojas on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. It captures him being pummeled and tased.
"We've enhanced it and we've tried to show exactly what happened, step by step … frame by frame," says Attorney Gene Iredale.
Border Patrol agents captured Hernandez-Rojas and his brother trying to enter the United States illegally in the mountains east of San Diego.
After being taken to San Ysidro for immediate deportation, agents surrounded him.
Iredale points out that footage shows Hernandez-Rojas in the middle of the group. He said that the agents later wrote in their reports that Hernandez-Rojas was constantly moving, twisting, rolling, kicking, trying to bite them.
Iredale argues that Hernadez-Rojas was actually begging for the beating to stop.
Then came what Iredale claims led to death.
"It shows this agent … and the one farther down holding his lower back -- they're placing enormous pressure on this man, who's been tased and restrained for over 20 minutes," said Iredale.
Rojas was hospitalized, but died from a heart attack within days.
Iredale wraps up his court filing with the following statement:
"The use of force as described upon a handcuffed, prone man, face down on the ground, is legally and morally indefensible. No reasonable agent with a brain would do such things; no human being with a heart could."
10News contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office, but officials said they could not comment because the case remains in active litigation.
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