In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Does law enforcement count in that presumed innocent until proven guilty?

Today I've been reading at Yahoo News about the 15 year old male fatally shot at the Texas border this past Monday and a cell phone video of this event.

There's a lot of people upset at the border patrol agents. These folks are saying that the youth who was shot was on Mexico's side of the border, that he had not been part of the group throwing "rocks" at the border patrol agents. Reports are that this was a good kid, a straight A student. Some are even saying that the youths involved just appeared to be playing some sort of cat and mouse game with the agents, trying to get across the border, but that they did not throw anything and had no weapons.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mark Qualia told CNN Thursday that "The 15-year-old Mexican youth who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent had a history of involvement with human smuggling and was on a list of repeat juvenile offenders". Rock-throwing can be considered a dangerous assault, Qualia said: "They're not chunking pebbles." T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, an advocacy organization for agents, was previously attacked by people from Mexico with rocks, said it has become the most common way in which agents are assaulted. The El Paso Times reports that Border Patrol agency statistics show that there have been 29 rock-throwing attacks on Boarder Patrol officers in El Paso since October.
Because the patrol officer who fired the shot was on American soil, and the youth killed was on Mexico soil, both the FBI and Mexican authorities are investigating. In the FBI's account, the teens surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him after he told them to stop and retreat — and at that point, the feds say, he used his gun.
I watched the cell phone video that I've got linked at the top here that some people are saying proves the officer was in the wrong for shooting. I can not tell a thing from this specific video.
My heart goes out to the parents of this 15 year old boy. Be he a wonderful kid and straight A student, or a human smuggler, or both, it's a tragedy any way you slice it.
But I frequently find myself wishing that law enforcement agents would be given the benefit of the doubt. That they would be afforded the same respect of innocent until proven guilty as everyone else. I really see the men and women who choose to be police or deputies or border patrol agents, or any other kind of law enforcement jobs, as there to serve us. While there are some bad ones, and I believe those should receive the legal consequences of their actions, I believe most are good people who keep the rest of us safe. The strongest feelings I have toward law enforcement officers are ones of gratitude.
What about you, what's your take on Monday's shooting? Or on how law enforcement officers are treated when they have to shoot in the line of duty?


Ginx said...

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a legal right, not a social norm. Legally, he is not guilty until a trial of his peers convict him. Socially, we can judge for ourselves.

Are you honestly telling me that when police arrest someone for a crime and the story is in the paper, you actually think of them as "innocent?" I still to this day think OJ Simpson is guilty, even though a jury of his peers disagreed, and I didn't even have a video of it.

I think you're trying to justify treating police differently, or that the law does not apply to officers the same as the rest of us, or that maybe the fact that this is linked to illegal immigration, it is somehow not as bad as cold-blooded murder. They may be valid points, but I think we as a society would be better off reacting negatively to stories like this, or we risk tolerating them to the point that they become common.

RCUBEs said...

Thank you for your kind words about those who give their hearts in trying to protect us and keep this nation safe. My hubby works for ICE and you know where I work. Those videos don't prove anything not unless you're there to actually see it happening. Unfortunately, the ones who love to start a rumor always get that shot that makes it appear that the officers are always at fault. Even in the jail, people don't see how combative and disrespectful some are towards the officers. That they have no choice but use as we hear about tasers, to try those non-lethal weapons first. But sometimes, they have no choice but defend and fight for their lives.

Rodney King's video seemed he was being brutally attacked by cops. What people didn't know was how strong he was under influence of drugs at that time of arrest. He was jailed where I worked and had to be housed separately as many inmates planned to kill him. He lost all of his money awarded to him to drugs. He's back and forth in the jail.

This is a sad situation like what you said. Whether that boy is one of good character or not, still, it's devastating that the parents had lost a child.

I was just telling my DH this morning, if people are not afraid of God and don't believe in God, why would they fear authority in the first place? Great topic. Have a great weekend sister Tracy. God bless you. Sorry for my long comment.

David-FireAndGrace said...

The presumption of innocence does not mean that a criminal act was NOT committed. It simply means that the burden to prove one's criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is on the state/court system.

There has to be reasonable cause to make and arrest, get a search warrant, or use deadly force.

In some other countries, one must prove their innocence. Basically there you start out in jail, and work your way out. Here you are found guilty and then punished. If there is a gray area, you can be found not guilty. IE: OJ. If there is a gray area in a country where you are guilty as charged until you prove otherwise, it is a LOT easier to end up in jail.

I am grateful for law enforcement. It seems that there is, over all, a great many decent enforcement providers out there. My in-laws are some of them.

What is unfortunate is that we do not deal with problems, and it causes a strain on our law enforcement resources. We could use a Berlin Wall type southern border to make the best use of our men and woman in uniform. I'm just sayin.

If we were more agressive about illegal guns, we would certainly benefit.

When it comes to lethal force, we are finally starting to provide options. IE: tasers and riot rounds. I am not so sure that bringing service pistol to a rock fight gives our officers enough choices.

In this case, the law provides for deadly force when the life of an officer, or bodily harm is in threatened (not in eminent danger of death). It could be a knife, a car, a long screwdriver or even a shovel. At the very least, even the rocks, regardless of the size, are considered assault with a deadly weapon and lethal force is allowed.

As far as reacting to this either positively, or negatively, let's wait and see what the facts are surrounding the incident outside the video clip.

In the mean time, why doesn’t the president buy his cabinet some scuba gear and get the oil spill stopped.

Michelle said...

I believe no matter WHO is in the headlines we are quick to jump to conclusions and make judgments.

I experienced this first hand as a CPS investigator. The media loves a good story. There were a few times where we would have to remove children from a home or CPS and police enforcement were involved. It was so frustrating how the media could totally play up a story that was not really as bad as they worded it. The story was made to send people into self-righteous mode..."How could anyone do that to a child?!"

We fail to realize there is always two sides to a story. I could not tell much from the video so who knows where this will go. Who knows what the police officer was thinking or fearing?

JD Curtis said...

We need a fence. Period.

Militarize the border with Mexico like Mexico does with it's Central American neighbors. If they complain, we can just say "We're just trying to be like you".

Then incidents of this type wouldnt happen.

Ginx said...

Militarize the border with Mexico


Then incidents of this type wouldnt happen.

Militarizing the border will result in less shootings?

JD, do you even read what you write?

juliancu said...

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Francis R. Barbour said...

What he was saying is that if we militarized the border and did so very stringently then no one would even try it any longer. Who in their right mind would try to get across when they knew beyond all doubt that they would either: step on a mine, or get shot?

Personally, I somewhat agree.... However, there would always be some to try it. Consequently, my solution would be better. End the welfare State in America and go back to Free Enterprise and Capitalism.

No forcing schools to educate illegals... No forcing hospitals to take indigents... No governmental involvement in strictly private matters. Without such governmental protections and mandates: all of them would quickly go home, our governments would grow smaller/better funded, and the economy would greatly improve over time.

photogr said...

I would think if the officer pulled his gun and shot the teen ( Honor student or not and most teens today look like adults), he had the proper training and background to feel his life was threatened and he was alone with out back up.

I would also think calling for back up and rubber bullets or water cannons might have been the best option in this case.

Lets not rush to assumptions in this case just yet. Most don't know what these guys go through in protecting our borders considering the other stories I am hearing of illegals shooting Americans at random recently.

Today it is a rock or rocks. Tomorrow it might be a gun or guns. I think the officer had every right to pull the gun and shoot. Sadly it was a teen though but teens can just as easily shoot and kill too.

Duane Scott said...

This is the first that I'm hearing about this story. I find it incredibly sad that the 15 year old is dead, but at the same time agree with you that we should give the law enforcements a bit of respect.

I think sometimes we Americans get so wrapped up in rules and regulations and protocols, that we forget to act on our "gut feelings." I think we should give the guy some credit for protecting our country.

Interesting blog post!

May said...

This is my first time hearing about this. It is such a sad story. We are too quick to become judgemental.

JD Curtis said...

Militarizing the border will result in less shootings?

How is what is happening to the United States on our southern border anything other than an "invasion"?

FishHawk said...

To be perfectly honest about my "natural" self, I would make a terrible law enforcement officer in most peoples eyes. For I would let you get away with way too much if you were nice to me when confronted, but I would put a hole between your eyes for being rude and obnoxious. Needless to say, I am really glad our Heavenly Father is nothing like I naturally am.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@FishHawk - amne! I am glad I am not God, and I'm sure a lot of folks are too!

張孟勳 said...


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