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FBI Investigates Border Death of El Cajon Resident Shot With Taser

The medical examiner's report says Francisco Cesena's cardiac arrest occurred because he was shot with electricity, held face down on the ground, and he was under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin.

The FBI is investigating the death of an El Cajon resident who was shot with a Taser at the San Ysidro Port of Entry last December.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office says in a report released Tuesday that 40-year-old Francisco Ceseña's cardiac arrest occurred because he was shot with electricity, held face down on the ground, and he was under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

According to the report, his skin showed seven pairs of injuries tied to the use of an electronic weapon. Pedro Rios, director of the immigrant rights group American Friends Service Committee, said it suggests a violation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's revised use-of-force policies, which limit the use of electronic weapons to three cycles.

“Although there is revised use of policy, perhaps the agents in the field are not adhering to those policies and they’re continuing to act without any real form of accountability," Rios said.

Previously, CBP officials said border agents shot Ceseña to subdue him after he attacked them. Ceseña was a U.S. citizen detained at the San Ysidro Port of Entry when he was trying to cross on Christmas Eve. Agents discovered an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest.

CBP declined to comment for this story, citing the ongoing FBI investigation and an intention to conduct a review of the incident after the FBI investigation is complete.

The autopsy report also cited several broken ribs and a video recording in which “it appeared that one of the agents placed something on or around his mouth, after which his voice sounded muffled.”

In addition to the use of the Taser, other contributing factors to Ceseña’s death were the recent use of heroin and methamphetamine, which were found in his blood, according to the report.

The report comes less than a month after the fifth anniversary of the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who was also shot with a Taser multiple times and also had drugs in his system. The 2010 incident was captured in several videos, leading to pressure on CBP for reforms, including the new use of force guidelines.

CBP says it will conduct a review of the Ceseña case after the FBI investigates.


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