September 26, 2014 10:30 am -

A U.S. Border Patrol agent is facing felony charges of assaulting a 14-year-old boy at the Nogales Border Patrol station for having a cellphone while in detention.

Aldo Francisco Arteaga of Tucson surrendered on Thursday and was fingerprinted and photographed at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, then released on his own recognizance.


arteaga [su_center_ad]According to county officials, Arteaga was charged last week with aggravated assault of a minor and could face up to two years in prison.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Santa Cruz County Atty. George Silva said prosecutors had video of the purported Jan. 30 assault from a surveillance camera in an immigration holding cell.

“The officer … sees the juvenile with a phone, a prohibited item, takes the phone from the juvenile and proceeds to punch him in the stomach,” Silva told the Los Angeles Times.

Silva said Arteaga would be arraigned in coming weeks.

Arteaga could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

The Border Patrol has been under pressure to investigate allegations of abuse and to be more transparent. According to internal affairs documents released this year, the vast majority of complaints against agents operating within 100 miles of the Southwest border resulted in no disciplinary action or were pending after many years.

The new head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, has vowed to speed up inquiries, acknowledging that the agency hadn’t conducted thorough investigations in the past.

And the new internal affairs chief, Mark Morgan, has pledged to take a deeper look at 14 shootings and 141 allegations of abuse to determine whether charges should be filed.

Immigration activists were divided Thursday night over whether the Arteaga case was a harbinger of change.

Juanita Molina, executive director of the Border Action Network, a Tucson immigrant rights group, called the agency’s disclosure of the charges a sign of a positive shift in its culture.

“Having them directly reporting this to the community shows that they are being held to a different standard and that they are viewing their actions through a different lens,” she said.

Not that long ago, Molina said, the agency had a dysfunctional culture that accepted violence and racist behavior. She first noticed a shift in 2010, she said, when the Tucson sector’s leadership changed.

Although there still is animosity between immigrant rights groups along the border and the agency, she said, the Tucson sector has become more accountable for its actions.

But James Lyall, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in Tucson, was not convinced.

“The fact that internal affairs finally appears to be taking an alleged example of Border Patrol abuse seriously is encouraging, but the agency clearly still has a long way to go to reform a pervasive culture of impunity,” he said.

Tucson immigrant rights activist Blake Gentry said the agency had “a culture that perpetuates abuse.”

“It’s just one case in a sea, in an ocean of abuse,” he added.

H/T: The incomparable @CarlaAkins with thanks.[su_csky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

3 responses to Border Patrol Agent Charged In Assault On 14-Year-Old Boy

  1. mea_mark September 26th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Wearing a uniform does not mean you are above the law. Scrutiny should be applied wherever there is abuse and it should be transparent and open if there is to be any kind of respect for those in uniform. Right now the cover-ups and what those in uniform have been allowed to do and get away with is unacceptable and deserves no respect.

  2. tiredoftea September 26th, 2014 at 11:56 am

    The agency voluntarily disclosed this assault. Perhaps it shows a genuine interest in a more open policy towards its personnel.

  3. juicyfruityyy September 26th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    There is something with these cops. Where did they come from?