The very scary caravan


#21

Seriously? This entire caravan plays to the Republican message: the US is being invaded by dirty Latinos who want to skip the line. This is the entire message of the Republican party this election. How in the world do you think the left wins? There is a significant majority on all sides that say this caravan is wrong. Even I think it’s wrong and I am a left winger. The only side that wins here is the Republicans.


#22

I honestly don’t know how you can declare the Right victors when the Left always gets the vote. Every single time! But yes, I can see how the Right benefits. When the voting is over and the Left takes control, the Right can clean up the mess the Left made.


#23

This is incoherent to the point of…let’s just say it’s almost Trump-like.

Republicans control the House, the Senate, the White house and the Supreme Court, but the left always gets the vote. Every single time.

So the Republicans can’t clean up the mess when they control every branch of government and the court, but they will be able to when the left takes power. Got it.


#24

Haha. Oh God, hahaha!


#25

Thank you Michele for helping me understand Trumps base. Using your thought process, I predict you have a very bright future.


#26

That happens when you lose motivation.


#27

#28

This guy is in a close battle with a black woman in georgia. He will probably win. I guess some Republicans have stole ballot votes from her. Apparently this ad was not a good idea, to the point where it’s a dead heat. I still think he will win.


#29

There’s a lot of voter suppression in Georgia. Kemp is Secretary of State so he controls voting. Is it any wonder there are a lot of ballots being denied?


#30

Oh no not at all. Stolen ballots give him a big advantage.


#31

Rachel Maddow has been covering the huge voter suppression by Kemp in Georgia. Americans are so jaded about it that it’s not even news outside her show.


#32

She reliably has the best information.


#33

Must hold back our tanks…no tanks at all…must not give tanks.


#34

Stop tanking!


#35

This caravan is now clearly exposing itself as a stunt. The Mexicans are offering the migrants jobs and good lives but they remain determined to reach the US. I honestly don’t know what their motive is but one thing is clear, they are not desperate refugees. This doesn’t justify Trump’s absurd move of troops to the border but that in turn doesn’t justify this caravan.


#36

Last week in Tucson, U.S. District Judge Raner Collins announced to a silent courtroom that Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Swartz had been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the killing of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.

In October of 2012, Swartz shot 16 rounds through the border fence from Nogales, Arizona, into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Ten bullets were found in sixteen-year-old Elena Rodriguez’ back and head. Swartz’s defense argued that Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks, and that agent Swartz feared for his life.

After the verdict was announced, a grey-haired man stood, “This is a miscarriage of justice!” shouted Richard Boren, head of an advocacy group named And then, “Tomsheck should have testified!” referring to former Customs and Border Patrol Internal Affairs Officer James Tomsheck, who reported to multiple sources that he saw a clear video in which Jose Elena Rodriguez was not throwing rocks, as the defense alleged.

Court marshals ushered Boren out of the courtroom, past Elena Rodriguez’ mother waiting outside. She didn’t want to be in the courtroom just in case this non-guilty verdict was reached. The victim’s grandmother though, Taide Elena, sat in the first row, stoic until the last jury member left the room. When the judge too had left, supporters surrounded her, and tears began to stream down her face.

Mrs. Elena has been fighting for justice for her grandson’s killing for six years. He was like a son to her, she testified. Taide Elena lived mostly on the U.S. side of Nogales, cleaning houses to support Elena Rodriguez and his family back in Mexico. The morning after he was killed she called the man whose home she’d cleaned for some twenty years, former Nogales, Ariz. district Judge, Roberto Montiel.

With that call began what has been an unrelenting legal battle: two and a half years for Swartz to get indicted, another two to go to trial for second-degree murder. He was acquitted of that charge in April. This last trial for manslaughter has been yet another month in court reliving every detail of her grandson’s gruesome death. Montiel has been supporting her and the family all of that time, “Of course I am, Taide was with my mother when she died, she’s always been part of the family,” he said.

Border Patrol agents rarely face a jury

Though the verdict was disheartening to the family of the victim, the fact that there has been a case at all was extraordinary. The Guardian has documented 97 fatalties over the past fifteen years, yet this trial is only the third time that a Border Patrol agent has faced a jury for a killing committed while on-duty. The first was Agent Michael Elmer who was charged with second-degree murder and obstructing justice. He was acquitted in 1992. The second was agent Nicholas Corbett who witnesses say shot Francisco Javier Dominguez-Rivera execution-style in the desert. He claimed, as did Agent Lonnie Swartz, that the victim was throwing rocks. Two trials ended in hung juries and prosecutors dropped the case.

The Elena Rodriguez case has haunted James Tomsheck since he left CBP in 2014. He says it is one of the most clear-cut and egregious excessive use of force case he witnessed at the agency. When he was at CBP, he filed about the agency, and eventually resigned.

“This tragic incident is an example of an irresponsible use of lethal force. Had it occurred in any American city it simply would never have been tolerated,” he says. Tomsheck believes that the Swartz trial points to a larger pattern of abuse within agency.

But when is use of force excessive? In Swartz’s case, the prosecutors asserted that was for this jury to decide. Through their not-guilty verdict, they have made clear that the killing of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was not an excessive use of force in their view.

Arturo Del Cueto, Vice President of the National Border Patrol union, agrees: “We’ve always held our agents accountable when they did something wrong,” he says,“In a case like this we’ve always backed up our agents when we believe they did the right thing.”

James Tomsheck is upset but not surprised to learn of the verdict. “Most CBP officers and Border Patrol agents are high integrity law enforcement professionals,” he says, “who will not let this verdict influence how they conduct operations in the field.”

He warns that some Border Patrol agents and CBP officers, however, “will unfortunately see this verdict as giving them a wider range to engage in activities with excessive use of force, an unfortunate consequence for people living in border communities.”

The Day of the Dead

That is an upsetting consequence for Taide Elena, who wants nothing more than justice for the death of her grandson.

The day after Day of the Dead earlier this month, Mrs. Elana tidied up her grandson’s grave.

“This is the comfort the living remain with,” she said in Spanish, “to bring their deceased ones flowers and candles.”

She was a day late to the remembrance because of the trial. She never missed a day in court during this trial or the first, which she often came to alone, or driven by her friend and client Roberto Montiel. Elena Rodriguez’s mother only was granted permission to come to the U.S. for the retrial. That was the first time she’d set foot on U.S. soil.

While the criminal case for Jose Antonio appears to have ended, the family still have a civil case pending before the Supreme Court. The American Civil Liberties Union is supporting them in what could be the first time an agent held liable for monetary damages for a killing outside of U.S. territory.

While Taide Elena’s great grandchildren played around her, she stared off into the distance towards the jagged border fence below.

“Pues, La esperenza muere al ultimo, verdad?” she said, “Hope is the last thing to die.”

I’m surprised this case was in USA and not Mexico. I guess Mexico couldn’t bother. He died on Mexican land.


#37

Do you think the right decision was made, Dan?


#38

No.

For a few reason. They didn’t let a key witness testify. He was tried in USA. Also, he has been found not guilty, which I assume means he could be an active agent. Even if you think he shouldn’t be jailed (I disagree because if he is guilty, he is dangerous), the fact that he has not been found guilty means I assume he can carry weaponry.


#39

Of course! :roll_eyes:


#40

Doesn’t it work out great for you guys when the law is ignored?