BP agents may wear video cameras
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Should Border Patrol Agents wear tiny cameras that record what they do?
That's what the agency is considering as a way to cope with complaints that agents wound or kill people too often.
Agents have been accused of crossing the line, beating people in custody, or shooting people when deadly force was not really justified.
Now as part of an overall effort to reduce those complaints, Border Patrol may wire agents for video.
A 16 year old boy died on the Mexican side of the fence, when Border Patrol agents in Nogales used guns against rock throwers. His family says he was just walking through the area.
An agent in Douglas shot and killed a young man as he tried to climb over the fence into Mexico while other people threw rocks. Investigators did find a drug load in the man's truck.
Those incidents and others raised complaints that Border Patrol Agents use too much force.
Now the Patrol is planning to have some agents wear tiny video cameras. Tucson Police are trying a similar system.
It's for video evidence of what agents do and what the people they encounter do too.
Defense attorney Sean Chapman says, "I think it's a really good idea."
Chapman has defended Border Patrol agents in trouble.
"A lot of times Border Patrol Agents are acting alone; and to have a recording device either mounted on their dash or lapel or something like that can help them prevent false accusations about what they did and what actions they took."
But the Border Patrol Union sees body cameras as a real privacy problem.
National Border Patrol Council Vice President Shawn Moran says if you want to quiet questions about force, open the books about past incidents.
"We feel our agents have nothing to hide; that they use force reluctantly and only as a last resort. We also want to see the number of assaults and the number of prosecutions which we feel are drastically lacking when Border Patrol Agents are assaulted."
The Border Patrol Union says it has bargaining rights that affect issues like the cameras and it will work to block them.