Border Patrol agent's political posts on Facebook may have violated law before deadly shooting

Team 10 takes a close look at the posts

SAN DIEGO - A legal expert tells Team 10 the Border Patrol agent who killed a mother of five in September, may have broken federal law months before he pulled the trigger.
 
On his Facebook page, Agent Justin Tackett "liked" Mitt Romney and a group called "I Will Not Vote For Obama in 2012." Tackett's Facebook page was taken down in the days that followed the shooting, but Team 10 obtained screen shots before the page was removed.
 
A federal law known as "The Hatch Act" is designed to prevent political activities by certain federal employees, including Border Patrol agents.
 
It states those employees, "may not use any email account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group."
 
The website of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel says employees who violate the Hatch Act could lose their job.

For more information on the Hatch Act, click here
 
Tackett also showed his support for former presidential candidates Herman Cain and Rick Santorum. He posted his thoughts about California's financial trouble, blaming it on "the entitlements and benefits to those who are not citizens of this country."
 
The Border Patrol agent also liked a group called, "Stand with Arizona Against Illegal Immigration."
 
Team 10 asked attorney Michael Crowley if it was appropriate for a Border Patrol agent to make comments directly about immigrants.
 
"Simply said, no," Crowley said.
 
Crowely has tried federal cases for 30 years, and currently teaches federal law classes at California Western University, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
 
"Some of these things are very troubling and if it was brought to the attention of somebody, I would expect them to take the action that would ordinarily come under that federal law," Crowley said.
 
Team 10 asked Crowley if Tackett's Facebook page is a Hatch Act violation.
 
"That would always be for a court to decide and a jury most likely or an administrative body, but to me it does look like it would be a violation of that Hatch Act," Crowley said.
 
Team 10 called Tackett for comment about his Facebook page, but calls were not returned.
 
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said the agency was not aware of the Facebook posts before Team 10's investigation. The spokesman would not talk further about any possible implications.
 
Tackett is under federal investigation for the death of Munique Tachiquin. She was shot and killed by Tackett when he was serving a warrant 15 miles north of the U.S. border with Mexico, according to federal officials. Tackett has said the shooting was in self-defense.

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