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International Panel Asked To Investigate San Ysidro Taser Death

Alliance San Diego

Bernardo Hernandez Rojas leads the way to ask the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to look into the death of his brother, March 30, 2016.

Audio

The family of a Mexican man who died after an incident with border officials at the San Ysidro Port of Entry has asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate his death.

On Wednesday, a San Diego family asked an international human rights organization to investigate a deadly incident at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The Mexican immigrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas died in 2010 after border agents and customs officials repeatedly shot him with a Taser. The incident was caught on camera and viewed worldwide. The San Diego County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence. A civil lawsuit against the individual agents involved remains in limbo.

On Wednesday morning, his family filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, asking the organization to hold the U.S. government accountable for failing to investigate and evaluate whether Hernandez's human rights were violated.

"There has been no justice," said Hernandez's brother, Bernardo, who filed the petition in Washington, D.C. "But we are not forgetting him. We are going to keep fighting for justice to be done."

He said he hopes the petition will result in policy changes such as body-worn cameras for all agents within U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"So the Border Patrol will stop doing this and more families won’t go through what ours did, which hurts very much," he said.

Immigrant rights activists say 50 people have been killed in incidents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since the San Ysidro Port of Entry incident.

"Every month we hear about another incident," said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego. "This is their opportunity to reverse course, to institute real reform and deliver justice."

The commission will decide whether or not to take on the petition in the coming months.

“We are at the Inter-American Commission because we have exhausted all domestic remedies," Guerrero said.

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