A Border Patrol agent who went all Jack Bauer on some illegal aliens has been convicted of violating their civil rights, the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston announced today.
Santiago Perez, 26, of Edinburg, plead guilty to the use of excessive force on two undocumented visitors, or people-without-papers, or night-time tourists, or whatever it is we're calling illegals these days.
Perez was no slacker at the whole violating-civil-rights thing, either, if the DOJ spokesperson is to be believed:
On Sept. 14, 2007, while on duty and transporting an undocumented alien, who had been arrested for alien smuggling, from the Premont, Texas, Police Department to the processing station, Perez drove and parked in a secluded area. Perez then restrained the alien's hands behind his back and removed him from the government vehicle. Once outside, Perez instructed the alien to kneel on the ground. Perez began interrogating the alien, asking where he intended to pick up the illegal aliens he was supposed to smuggle. The alien denied being an alien smuggler.
In an effort to scare and coerce the alien into incriminating himself, Perez drew his service pistol and repeated the questions. The alien continued to deny being a smuggler. Perez then pointed his weapon at the alien's head, touching the pistol to the alien's temple or forehead, and again asked for incriminating information. Perez intended the alien to fear for his life. He did. The alien believed Perez was going to kill him as he knelt handcuffed in a secluded area in South Texas.
When his threatened use of the pistol failed to elicit an incriminating response, Perez holstered it and grabbed his police baton. Perez placed his baton behind the alien's neck and back and again questioned the alien. The use of the baton caused the alien bodily and mental injury. Perez also threatened to put the alien "in a hole" if he did not answer his questions. The alien understood the threat to mean that Perez would kill him. When the alien continued to deny his involvement in smuggling even after being threatened with both a pistol and a baton, Perez put the alien back into the patrol vehicle and transported him to the processing station.
Hey, he eventually got the guy to the station, didn't he? Don't these prosecutors ever watch 24?
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In the other incident hit an unarmed and un-resisting Guatemalan over the eye with his pistol.
"An injustice has been recognized and accepted by this former agent's admission today," U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle said in a statement that didn't really make much sense when you look at it.
Perez will be sentenced November 5 and faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
-- Richard Connelly