Skip to comments.Group launches ads calling for pardon of border agents
Posted on 02/20/2007 9:39:24 PM PST by NormsRevenge
A grass-roots organization and a media consulting firm launched a campaign Monday seeking a presidential pardon for two former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican national during a 2005 incident.
The 30- to 60- second television spots, produced by Demos Chrissos, owner of Rapid Response Media, will first air on Washington, D.C., cable channels this week, Chrissos said.
Radio commercials targeting congressional representatives in their own districts will begin airing by the end of the week, he said.
The "man on the street" TV spots were posted Monday on grassfire.org, a conservative Web site that has collected more than 325,000 signatures calling on President Bush to pardon former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.
Ramos and Compean are serving 11 and 12 years, respectively, for shooting Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila on the Texas-Mexico border after a foot chase.
Aldrete-Davila later admitted in court that he was smuggling more than 700 pounds of marijuana in his van when he was confronted by the agents, but he was given immunity from prosecution to testify against the two men, who said they fired on him because they thought he had a gun.
Ramos and Compean were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, as well as violating Aldrete-Davila's civil rights and attempting to cover up the incident.
Chrissos said launching the ads in Washington will send a message to the president that the American people want answers about the agents' case.
"I couldn't sit on the sidelines while this story unfolded and do nothing about it," said Chrissos, whose company has produced commercials for a variety of organizations and politicians. "This one was all on me. It is totally unacceptable to see the Justice Department prosecute two Border Patrol agents who had just cause to believe that their lives were being threatened."
Last week, congressional representatives drafted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking Democrats, requesting investigative hearings into the agents' case. The week prior, the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., agreed to hold hearings, which are are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 27.
Chrissos, who said he was contacted by Western District of Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton last month, said Sutton's explanations as to why the government prosecuted the case didn't add up. Chrissos said Sutton contacted him twice in January to solicit public relations advice regarding the case.
Sutton began making radio and TV appearances about the case on Jan. 17, when the agents turned themselves in to the U.S. Marshal's Office to begin serving their sentences.
"He seemed to be concerned about how Hispanic Americans would've reacted if he had not prosecuted the agents," Chrissos said. "That didn't seem right or logical to me."
Sutton could not be reached for comment.
But Shana Jones, spokeswoman for Sutton's office, said Sutton has made an effort to speak to many people about the case.
"U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton has proactively spoken with a number of individuals and reporters about the Compean/Ramos case because a tremendous amount of inaccurate and misleading information has been broadcast or published," she said. "We believe it is important we do what we can to ensure the public clearly understands the facts of the case."
The agents picked up another ally last week.
The Texas state board of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) passed a resolution supporting a pardon for the agents. The nonprofit organization, which openly supports immigration reform and a guest-worker program, stated in its resolution that the sentences for the agents were too harsh.
We've got a couple of people in jail in my town that insist they are innocent as well. Where do we sign up for the "30-second commercial" justice system?