Justice for José Antonio: Families Demand Accountability for Mexican Teens Killed by CBP.

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Jessica Solis
Jessica Solis signed this petition

On October 10, 2012, Sixteen year, old José Antoñio Rodríguez was shot and killed by Border Patrol officer Lonnie Swartz. Rodriguez was shot ten times in the back as Swartz fired his weapon through the border wall that separates Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Sonora. Swartz fired a total of 16 times and reloaded his weapon as Jose Antoñio laid lifeless on the ground. The Border Patrol alleges that Jose was throwing rocks at them. Witness testimony, counters those claims. A videotape documenting the nights events went missing or was destroyed. Swartz was tried twice in a criminal court but was acquitted on all charges. Border Patrol has for years been plagued with hundreds of allegations of abuse and unnecessary use of deadly force, including the cross-border killings of at least six people on Mexican soil. Most cases are not investigated, and border agents are rarely criminally charged for using violent force.

After nearly five years of legal delays, José Antoñio’s mother, Araceli Rodríguez, and his grandmother, Taide Elena, brought Lonnie Swartz to trial for second-degree murder in 2017. A Tucson jury acquitted him and were deadlocked on manslaughter charges. In a second trial in November 2018, Swartz was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Araceli Rodriguez says, “He was murdered, and there has been no justice. He was killed, and the world is the same. He was murdered, and Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz is still free.”

This fall 2019, the Supreme Court will decide whether the parents of Sergio Hernández Güereca, a 15-year-old Mexican teen killed by a Border Patrol agent in 2010, can sue the American agent in a U.S. federal court. It’s been nearly 10 years since Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot across the El Paso-Juárez border and struck Hernández Güereca in the head. The central question in these cases is whether a Mexican citizen killed on Mexican soil by a U.S. border agent is protected by the U.S. Constitution — allowing for the family members of victims to file civil lawsuits.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hernández Güereca’s case, the decision will likely impact other cross-border killing cases, including that of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was shot and killed by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on the Mexico side of the border in 2012. The U.S. government is saying that this is essentially a case in Mexico- even thought it's a U.S. agent, using a U.S. firearm, standing on U.S. soil shooting through the steel wall that separates U.S. and Mexico. Why hasn't Justice been served by the United States government? Why does the Constitution not apply to Jose Antoñio Elena Rodriguez and other victims of Border Patrol agents? What would have happened if a Mexican Border Patrol agent would have shot an American citizen through the slats of a border fence dividing Nogales, Arizona?

Please sign the petition to demand Justice for Jose Antonio and Sergio Hernandez in the U.S. Supreme Court System. If justice is served in these cases, this will prevent Border Patrol agents from impunity in the future. Unfortunately, Border Patrol abuse towards detained migrants is at an all time high, we need help protect their human rights to a fair trial.

We need everyone's voice now more than ever! Sign the Petition and join our movement!

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