U.S. Won’t Charge Border Patrol Agent In Killing Of Mexican Teen

The Justice Department will not prosecute the border patrol agent who shot and killed 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez-Guereca on the Mexico border on June 7, 2010 after smugglers hurled rocks at him. DOJ said in a press release late Friday that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute the agent for either a homicide or a civil rights charge.

“This review took into account evidence indicating that the agent’s actions constituted a reasonable use of force or would constitute an act of self defense in response to the threat created by a group of smugglers hurling rocks at the agent and his detainee,” the press release said.DOJ called their investigation “comprehensive and thorough” and said they interviewed over 25 law enforcement and civilian witnesses and reviewed “evidence from the scene of the shooting; civilian and surveillance video; law enforcement radio traffic; 911 recordings; volumes of CBP agent training and use of force materials; and the shooting agent’s training, disciplinary records, and personal history.”

Mexico had called on the U.S. to conduct a swift investigation and condemned the shooting. The family subsequently sued the government over the shooting. The agent involved has never been named.

Late update: Ricardo Alday, the spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in the U.S., sends along this statement:

The Government of Mexico, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deeply regrets and strongly rejects the decision by the Department of Justice of the United States which today decided not to present charges against the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed Mexican teenager Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca in an incident at the Ciudad Juarez border area, on June 7, 2010.

In light of this decision, the Government of Mexico today presented an additional diplomatic note of protest to the United States Government, underscoring the concern that this case will not be prosecuted.

Mexico will closely analyze the terms of the US Department of Justice decision to determine additional measures to pursue at the bilateral and international levels. The Government of Mexico will use all diplomatic and legal international options at its disposal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also informs that on January 2011, Mexico presented a provisional arrest request for extradition purposes against the Border Patrol agent, which was denied today by the U.S. based on the decision of the Department of Justice of not filing criminal charges.

Today’s decision does not mean that the case against the Border Patrol agent in Mexican courts is over, nor that the civil actions taken by the victims’ relatives in US Courts, with sustained Mexico’s Consular and legal assistance , have expired.

The Government of Mexico reiterates that only joint and coordinated efforts on both sides of our common border will provide better security and enhanced well-being to border communities, with full respect of the human rights of all, in both nations. That is why both Mexico and the US adopted the Joint Declaration on the Prevention of Violence in the Border Region, as well as the Bilateral Protocols on Border Violence, in order to prevent and respond to future incidents.

The Government of Mexico will redouble its efforts to continue implementing those bilateral initiatives and reiterates its appeal to the United States Government to proceed accordingly.