Citing "insufficient evidence," Department of Justice investigators will not file criminal charges against a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent who shot a Mexican teenager as smugglers attempted to cross the border illegally.
The death of Sergio Hernandez-Guereca prompted protests and outcry from the Mexican government in 2010, as video surfaced appearing to show the shooting.
President Felipe Calderon called on DOJ "to investigate fully what happened and punish those responsible," while the Mexican Foreign Minister "firmly repudiate[d] and reject[ed] the violent actions by U.S. authorities in the last few days."
DOJ came to a different conclusion. "[T]he agent did not act inconsistently with CBP policy or training regarding use of force," DOJ announced today when explaining why the. "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 Customs and Border Patrol agent faced charges of violating civil rights laws and homicide. Because Hernandez-Guereca was not on United States land when he was shot, the government lacked the jurisdiction to bring civil rights charges.
They also lacked evidence to prove that "the CBP agent acted willfully and with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids," the investigators concluded. The Justice Department explained that "accident, mistake, misperception, negligence and bad judgment are not sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation."