ACLU Warns New Border Patrol Use-of-Force Data ‘Raises Several Alarms’

Use-of-force recommendations by independent law enforcement panel must be implemented

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection released statistics today on use-of-force incidents for fiscal year 2015-2016, claiming a reduction in incidents but not addressing necessary reforms.

The statement below can be attributed to Chris Rickerd, policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union:

This data is welcome but raises several alarms.

First, Border Patrol defines use of force more narrowly than the Justice Department, leading to an undercount.

Second, the large, steady number of ‘less lethal’ force incidents demands more context: Why hasn’t the agency’s new emphasis on de-escalation had a larger effect and what disciplinary consequences have resulted from force incidents that violate policy?

Finally, the Border Patrol’s propensity to frequently use force underscores our disappointment at its slow pace of accountability reforms. Body-worn cameras within a strong policy framework are badly overdue and an independent law-enforcement panel’s June 2015 use-of-force recommendations must be implemented immediately.”