US Border Patrol Rejects Body Cameras, Whines It’ll Hurt Employee Morale

This past May, a young woman who had aspirations of being a Border Patrol Agent, ended up being tackled, tasered and handcuffed all for questioning an agent’s authority. According to the Southern Border Communities Coalition, 40 people have been killed by Border Patrol Agents since January 2010. The ACLU called into question a recent Customs and Border Patrol report that said incidents of force are down.

Vicki Gaubeca,  Director, ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights said,

“We are all for less use of force by CBP, which has a deeply troubling record of killings and excessive force. But CBP’s release today touts a decrease in use-of-force incidents based on incomplete statistics that exclude many uses of force. The announcement lacks transparency regarding pending disciplinary action or investigations and fails to assuage border residents’ concerns that CBP culture values military-style policing over de-escalation and preservation of human life.”

This makes it all the more disturbing that Border Patrol is rejecting requests that they be outfitted with body cameras. Apparently, doing so would really upset the agents. It might also be a distraction, what with the agents not being allowed to beat the hell out of people and all.

Last year, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske opened up about the use of deadly force at the hands of the Border Patrol. He also talked about the Border Patrol experimenting with body-mounted cameras on agents and expected it would be one of the recommendations that could be used in much-needed reforms to hold them accountable or, conversely, to exonerate them.  But, apparently that was short-lived. While Kerlikowske isn’t ruling out the possibility, he’s just saying that they’re not all that effective. If, by not being effective, he means cops could get caught beating the life out of people, then maybe he’s correct.

“The draft report referenced is a dated version that does not reflect the agency’s deliberations over the past months or conclusions of CBP leadership,” the CBP said in a statement.

Nearly a year ago, President Barack Obama requested $263 million for funding of body cameras and training for their use. He said:

“This is not a problem just of Ferguson, Missouri. This is a national problem.”

If Border Patrol Agents are federal officials who fall under Homeland Security, President Obama could mandate that the agents be outfitted with them. He is the Commander-in-Chief after all.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons