PSYCHO AMERICA: DHS 'Use of Force Report' Admits Agent's "shots at suspect vehicles are taken out of frustration" involving "non-violent suspects who posed no threat"
By Martin Hill
LibertyFight.com
December 30, 2014


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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Custom and Border Protection agency has released an interesting annual report on arrests and seizures for fiscal year 2014. DHS released their 'End of Year Statistics on 12/19 and included a 'CBP Border Security Report.' Within it are several additional reports including the official use of force handbook and a report which specifically focuses on the agency's use of force.

The report outlined an alarming number of shootings where officers shoot into suspects vehicles or at people tossing rocks when it is not necessary. As always this is a stark reminder to be very careful around these Department of Homeland Security officers, who have been admonished in an official agency report for being trigger happy. The report states "The cases suggest that some of the shots at suspect vehicles are taken out of frustration when agents who are on foot have no other way of detaining suspects who are fleeing in a vehicle. Most reviewed cases involved non-violent suspects who posed no threat other than a moving vehicle.

Further down into the report when addressing the issue of rock thowing, the report states "As with vehicle shootings, some cases suggest that frustration is a factor motivating agents to shoot at rock throwers."


The agency noted "CBP also integrated the data system that captures assaults against agents and officers with CBP’s use of force incident reporting system. This change will allow CBP to conduct comparative analyses of how agents and officers respond to assaults and will help CBP identify “best practice” responses to threats and better inform enhancements to policies, training, tactics and equipment. In September, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delegated to CBP the authority to investigate its employees for alleged criminal misconduct. As a result, CBP is converting qualified internal affairs employees from general investigators to criminal investigators. This will allow CBP to have more direct control of these investigations and increase accountability."

The report continued "CBP is also implementing a unified, formal review process for use of force incidents. This process will create a unified approach to effectively respond to and investigate use of force incidents in a timely manner. Additionally, as part of the process, an interagency board will review use of force incidents to determine compliance with policy and best law enforcement practices for training, tactics and equipment. CBP also formed an Integrity Advisory Panel to provide CBP with best practices and recommendations from federal, state and local law enforcement integrity thought leaders. Finally, CBP is implementing a feasibility study on the use of body-worn cameras in each of CBP’s operational environments along the U.S. border, at and between ports of entry, in the air and at sea.

The report 'Recommendation' stated Consideration should be given to adding at the beginning of the foreword a statement similar to the following: "A respect for human life shall guide all members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the use of force. CBP officers/agents shall use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the life of the officer/agent or others. Excessive force is strictly prohibited..."


It continued "CBP needs to train agents to de-escalate these encounters by taking cover, moving out of range and/or using less lethal weapons. Agents should not place themselves into positions where they have no alternative to using deadly force."

The report also recommenred revisions to the Electronic Control Weapon Guidelines (ECW) policy and the 'PEPPERBALL LAUCHING SYSTEM' (PLS) policy. They noted that 1,400 rounds of ammunition should be kept in inventory for each armed employee.

Here are excerpts:

http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/images/CBP%20FY14%20Report_20141218.pdf

In most of these cases, the agents have stated that they were shooting at the driver of a vehicle that was coming at them and posing an imminent threat to their life. In some cases, passengers were struck by agents’ gunfire. Little focus has been placed on defensive tactics that could have been used by shooting agents such as getting out of the way. It should be recognized that a ½ ounce (200 grain) bullet is unlikely to stop a 4,000 pound moving vehicle, and if the driver of the approaching vehicle is disabled by a bullet, the vehicle will become a totally unguided threat. Obviously, shooting at a moving vehicle can pose a risk to bystanders including other agents. The cases suggest that some of the shots at suspect vehicles are taken out of frustration when agents who are on foot have no other way of detaining suspects who are fleeing in a vehicle. Most reviewed cases involved non-violent suspects who posed no threat other than a moving vehicle.

There is little doubt that the safest course for an agent faced with an oncoming vehicle is to get out of the way of the vehicle. CBP policy should be “Agents shall not discharge their firearms at or from a moving vehicle unless deadly physical force is being used against the police officer or another person present, by means other than a moving vehicle.”

Chapter 4: Use of Force, Section C., Subsection 7
Recommendation: Replace the current language with the following.
Officers/agents shall not discharge their firearms at or from a moving vehicle unless deadly physical force is being used against the officer/agent or another person present, by means other than a moving vehicle. (Use of firearms against vessels or aircraft is subject to the restrictions found in 4510-033: Use of Air Disabling Fire Policy.) A moving vehicle in and of itself is not a presumed threat that justifies the use of deadly force. Firing at or from a moving vehicle is rarely effective and presents extreme danger to agents and innocent persons.


Officers/agents should avoid standing directly in front of, behind, or beside a suspect vehicle and should not intentionally use their body to block the suspect vehicle. The likelihood of injury to the officer/agent substantially increases when using these dangerous and rarely effective tactics. Officers/agents should strive to move out of the way rather than into the path of vehicles.

CBP recognizes that the mobility of vehicles present heightened risks for officers/agents and discourages officers from reaching into vehicles. This tactic is extremely dangerous and rarely effective.

http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/PERFReport.pdf.

Shooting At Suspects Throwing Rocks at Agents on Land
Twenty five case files were reviewed that involved shots being fired by agents who had been the victim of rock attacks while on land.
Observations:
Most of the cases involved enforcement activities that took place near the IBF, while a limited number were in remote mountainous regions miles from the border. Some cases seemed to be a clear cut self-defense reaction to close and serious rock threats or assaults, while other shootings were of more questionable justification. The more questionable cases generally involved shootings that took place through the IBF at subjects who were throwing rocks at agents from Mexico. In some cases, agents shot at suspects who were attempting to interfere with arrests on the U.S. side of the border fence..in at least one case, rocks were being thrown in an attempt to allow drugs to be taken back over the IBF. In other cases, agents shot at suspects who started throwing rocks over the fence at them after agents stopped when their CBP vehicles had been hit by rocks. As with vehicle shootings, some cases suggest that frustration is a factor motivating agents to shoot at rock throwers. Likewise, it is felt that some of the weapons discharges are actually intended as warning shots. Two or more shooting cases involving rock throwers on land were ruled by CBP as violations of policy.


It is clear that agents are unnecessarily putting themselves in positions that expose them to higher risk. While rock throwing can result in injuries or death, there must be clear justification to warrant the use of deadly force. CBP needs to train agents to de-escalate these encounters by taking cover, moving out of range and/or using less lethal weapons. Agents should not place themselves into positions where they have no alternative to using deadly force.

Use of Force Policy Review
PERF conducted reviews of the Use of Force Policy Handbook, Office of Training and Development, October 2010 HB 4500-01B, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and The foreword from the Commissioner represents an opportunity to clearly state the limits on the use of force by Customs and Border Protection officers and agents.
Recommendation: Consideration should be given to adding at the beginning of the foreword a statement similar to the following: A respect for human life shall guide all members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the use of force. CBP officers/agents shall use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the life of the officer/agent or others. Excessive force is strictly prohibited...


Thrown or hurled missiles aimed at officers/agents may represent a threat of imminent danger of death or serious physical injury. When sufficient time exists officers/agents should seek cover and/or move out of range. Such action may be especially viable when the attack is coming from the other side of the border. Officers/agents are prohibited from using deadly force against subjects throwing objects not capable of causing serious physical injury or death to them.

a. In any use of force incident where there is a death or serious injury as a result of actions taken by a CBP Officer, Agent or employee, the RO shall ensure that the incident has been reported to the law enforcement authorities having jurisdiction over the investigation.

Recommendation: Customs and Border Protection has no criminal investigative arm. Hence it is dependent on local law enforcement agencies when they have primary jurisdiction, or elements of DOJ or DHS/CBP if DOJ or DHS/CBP has primary jurisdiction, to conduct criminal investigations.


Recommendation: Consideration should be given to requiring all firearms instructors to complete an annual training update. Such updates could be delivered electronically and could cover changes in firearms technology, ammunition and tactics.

4510-029 PEPPERBALL LAUCHING SYSTEM (PLS) POLICY Section 5.6 Intermediate Force
Recommendation: Consideration should be given to changing the language from Intermediate Force to Less Lethal Force both here and throughout the policy.
Section 6.1 PLS – TRAINING GUIDELINES, Subsection 6.1.5 states: “Participation in the training and certification for the PLS shall be voluntary.” Recommendation: If there is a desire to expand the use of less lethal weapons, consideration should be given to making PLS training and certification mandatory for all officers/agents.

...should be as follows: “ECWs should be used only against subjects who are exhibiting active resistance in a manner that, in the agent’s judgment, is likely to result in injuries to themselves or others. ECWs should not be used against a passive subject.”

The following replacement language is adapted from the guidelines for “Using the ECW” found in “2011 Electronic Control Weapon Guidelines” published by the Police Executive Research Forum and the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, page 20, number 21. The current language should be replaced by the following guideline: “Personnel should use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary. Each ECW cycle must be reasonable and necessary to overcome non-compliance by an actively resistant subject and to accomplish the officer/agent’s legitimate law enforcement duties. Personnel should consider that exposure to the ECW for longer than 15 seconds (whether due to multiple applications or continuous cycling) may increase the risk of death or serious injury. Any subsequent applications should be independently justifiable, and the risks should be weighed against other force options.”


This change will bring the CBP guideline to the level of best practice and provide additional cautionary information. Recommendation: the following subsection should be added. It is absent from the directive. “Personnel should not intentionally activate more than one ECW at a time against a subject.”

DHS CBP Use of Force Policy Handbook

E. Ammunition Inventory
1. All locations should have an inventory of ammunition on hand sufficient to conduct training, qualifications and operations. On an annual basis, CBP operational components should anticipate the need for:
a. 800 rounds of handgun ammunition per armed CBP employee;
b. 400 rounds of rifle ammunition per armed CBP employee; and
c. 200 rounds of shotgun ammunition per armed CBP employee.

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, TargetLiberty.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, HenryMakow.com, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, TexeMarrs.com, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, SaveTheMales.ca, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, FromTheTrenchesWorldReport.com, BeforeItsNews.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.



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