Judge approves $1M settlement in 2010 border death

Posted at 4:22 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 20:31:46-05

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge approved a $1 million settlement from the U.S. government Thursday, to the family of an undocumented immigrant who died in 2010 while in Border Patrol custody.

On May 28, 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, 42, and his brother were detained after being caught illegally entering the country on Otay Mountain, according to San Diego Police. Rojas had reportedly been living in San Diego illegally for about two decades.

Both men reportedly agreed to be returned to Mexico. Authorities said when they removed Rojas' handcuffs at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, he became violent with Border Patrol agents.

The incident ended with Rojas being shot by a stun gun multiple times. He eventually became unresponsive and died a few hours later from a heart attack at a Chula Vista hospital. 

Rojas' family and activists discussed the settlement and footage of the incident. 

"This settlement is not justice, but it is a badge of shame. No amount of money can ever replace Anastasio. We miss him dearly every day," Maria Puga, Rojas' wife, said. "I will never forget my husband, and my children will never forget their father. No family should ever have to go through this. We don't want to have more cases like that of Anastasio."

Watch a portion of the press conference here:

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, Rojas' death was labeled a homicide, but no arrests have been made. The medical examiner also said high blood pressure and methamphetamine found in Rojas' system may have contributed to his death.

RELATED: Federal Grand Jury Probes Border Death

Cell phone video of the incident surfaced soon after the Rojas' death, showing him crying out for help while on the ground and an officer yelling, "Quit resisting!"

The incident sparked Congressional inquiries into use-of-force policies.