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Border & Immigration

Human Rights Groups Monitoring Taser Death Investigation

People wait in line to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego, CA.
Jose Luis Jiménez
People wait in line to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego, CA.

Human rights groups will be closely watching the investigation into why a 40-year-old man wanted on a felony warrant died after being shot with a Taser at the U.S. Border in San Ysidro on Christmas Eve.

“Certainly, we'd like to know the details of this particular case to ensure there weren't any missteps by the officials,” said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee.

The American Friends Service Committee is a civil rights watchdog group which focuses on border and immigration issues.

“In the past, we have not had transparent investigations, so it's important to know what exactly happened that led to this man's death,” Rios said.

But Rios is holding-off any judgment until he gets more facts.

According to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the man, a U.S. citizen tried to cross into the United States at about 3 p.m. Wednesday through a pedestrian walkway.

Customs wrote in the release:

“After records checks revealed that the individual should be considered armed and dangerous, officers escorted him to the security office. There, officers conducted a pat down, seized heroin and reviewed law enforcement records to confirm criminal history and a warrant for his arrest.”

Customs reported that the man jumped over a desk and attacked two officers who were checking his criminal record.

San Diego police said, in a news release, the man was combative and one of the officers used his Taser.

The man passed out and stopped breathing. Customs officers did CPR on the man, but he died, San Diego police said.

“So obviously, something went wrong and we want to know why, and what went wrong,” Rios said.

Four customs officers suffered minor injuries, customs said.

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