Anastasio Hernandez was a 42-year old construction worker, husband, father of five children, and a long-time resident of San Diego, CA. That’s before he was captured by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and, instead of being deported, was brutally beaten and tased to death.
But Anastasio didn’t have to die. Based on new eye-witness videos, it’s clear that he was attacked as he lay handcuffed on the ground, defenseless and surrounded by at least a dozen agents. Yet, despite such evidence, two years have passed and not a single agent responsible for his tragic death has been held accountable.
That’s why Anastasio’s family is waging a national campaign to achieve what should have happened years ago: justice for Anastasio, as well as for the eight other southern border residents killed or seriously injured by the Border Patrol since 2010.
Earlier this week, more than 100 faith, civil and human rights groups, led by LAWG and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, joined their call for justice by sending a letter to President Obama denouncing the use of excessive force by CBP agents and demanding increased accountability, oversight and transparency over the Border Patrol to prevent future deaths. The letter caught the eye of CBS News, and they featured it in their coverage of a rally in remembrance of Anastasio that took place Wednesday. Check out the news clip here.
This letter to President Obama comes on the heels of a string of media attention and grassroots action as part of this campaign for justice:
• Over 33,000 people signed (including many of you) a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Department of Justice conduct a thorough and open investigation of all the killings committed by Border Patrol since 2010.
• Then on April 20, 2012, PBS aired a special investigative report titled, “Crossing the line at the Border.” This documentary-like piece is a MUST SEE that reveals new eye-witness video footage of the brutal beating and tasing of Anastasio leading up to his death.
• Days later, Anastasio’s family came to Washington DC, where they shored up the support of 16 members of Congress, and met with the Department of Justice.
While our campaign for law enforcement accountability is stronger than ever, Anastasio’s family remains concerned about the speed and transparency of the investigation into his death – and what is being done to prevent future tragedies. “It only took minutes to kill my son, but two years have passed and still there is no answer,” says Maria Luz Rojas, Anastasio’s mother.
So the struggle continues.