Skip to comments.Bush Slammed as Border Patrol Agents Begin Prison Terms
Posted on 01/17/2007 4:24:55 PM PST by Mr. Mojo
(CNSNews.com) - As two U.S. Border Patrol agents surrendered to federal marshals Wednesday afternoon to begin serving more than a decade in jail for shooting an illegal drug smuggler, a federal lawmaker and conservative advocacy group expressed outrage at President Bush for not pardoning the men.
"This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said of the president.
"It's shameful this was done by someone who is in the Republican Party," the California Republican added in comments coinciding with the jailing of agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
Rohrabacher said Bush "obviously thinks more about his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders."
Ramos and Compean reportedly handed themselves over to the U.S. Marshal's office in El Paso, Texas, early Wednesday afternoon, facing the prospect of 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, for a string of offenses including the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
Steve Elliott, president of the conservative group Grassfire.org, also lashed out at Bush on Wednesday.
The American people "have a vivid picture of where the Bush administration really stands on border security," Elliott charged in a news release.
He described the crimes committed by Ramos and Compean as "so-called civil rights violations against an illegal alien drug smuggler who has been smuggling drugs into this country for years and was smuggling 743 pounds of marijuana at the time of the confrontation."
Elliott also argued that the U.S. attorney's office did not have to pursue the case, prosecute the men, "take the word of an illegal alien drug smuggler over that of our border agents" or give the illegal alien immunity.
"President Bush could have spoken out publicly in support of these agents and how their incarceration could further cripple our border security efforts," he added.
Instead, Elliot said, "when it came time to stand and be counted on the side of our border agents, the president's administration chose to side with a career illegal alien drug smuggler."
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Ramos and Compean encountered Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila while on duty on Feb. 17, 2005. When they tried to stop him, he fled and was shot and wounded. Aldrete-Davila was treated at a hospital in El Paso and then returned to Mexico.
After learning of the shooting, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton sought out Aldrete-Davila in Mexico and offered him immunity from prosecution if he would return to the United States to testify against Ramos and Compean.
Sutton later defended the decision, arguing that the agents did not have knowledge of any criminal activity involving Aldrete-Davila at the time they shot him.
Ramos and Compean were charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, willfully violating Aldrete-Davila's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure and obstruction of justice for intentionally defacing the crime scene, lying about the incident, and failing to report the truth.
During a press briefing last Friday, White House spokesman Tony Snow addressed the case and criticism at some length.
"According to the facts presented in court, you had an incident in which there was an attempt to pull somebody over. He finally got pulled over; somebody holds out a gun. Sort of scuffling ensues," Snow said.
"And what happens is you've got a fellow running away, and a couple of agents eventually in pursuit, firing 14 shots at him - I think 15, actually. Fourteen by one agent missed, one did strike him in the fleshy hindquarters," he added.
"Now, at the time this happened, they did not know if he was an illegal," Snow continued.
"They did not know that there were 700 pounds of marijuana [in Aldrete-Davila's van]. They didn't know any of those things. But instead you had this. They also had received arms training the day before that said if you have an incident like this, you must preserve the evidence and you must report it promptly," he said.
"Instead, according to court documents, they went around and picked up the shell casings. Furthermore, they asked one of their colleagues also to help pick up shell casings. They disposed of them," Snow added.
Snow noted that a jury convicted the agents on 11 out of 12 counts and defended the government's stance.
"This is not the case of the United States saying, we are not going to support people who go after drug dealers. Of course we are ... we also believe that the people who are working to secure that border themselves obey the law," he said.
Is everything Bush's Fault (rhetoric)
January 20th, 2009 can't come soon enough!
Is President Bush the only guy involved in this case. Do Democrats get any blame here at all.
I'm sick of crybaby Republicans almost as much as I am of liberal Democrats.
This is currently the biggest lie in America, that these Border Patrol Agents don't deserve to go to jail. I live right here in San Diego County, and I am telling you, I have not seen more misreporting on an issue since the Iraq war.
These agents were found guilty of first shooting another human being in the back, then trying to cover up the crime.
No one ever asks why if they are so innocent, why they tried to hide what they did. They got lawyers who tried wrap them in the flag to cover up their behavior. Legal or illegal, you don't shoot someone in the back. This country is about due process, not vigilante justice.
The agents were convicted by a jury of their peers. Bush was right to do nothing about it because they are GUILTY. Lets not lose our morality and respect for the law, just because the alien and those who shot him did.
Shame on the Congressmen trying to cover up for these men.
do not overestimate the democrats logic. even if they hadn't covered it up the dems would be trying to get thim locked up. it wouldn't matter if the illegal was bringing nukes into the country, according to the liberals, they shouldn't shoot him
Whatever happened to "Stop, or we'll shoot" at the border? You can smuggle 1/3 ton of weed and just run away if intercepted?
Bush isn't showing much leadership in this case. Or anything to do with the border, for that matter.
question, how do you shoot people in the back in the first place?
That's right, they're running away. due process is kindof hard when the criminal gets away
Was he a "guest worker" illegal drug smuggler?
"Legal or illegal, you don't shoot someone in the back."
That's not true... Cops shoot people in the back all the time who are running away, and they are never prosecuted for it.
If that's the day you stop bitching about President Bush, I agree with you.
Bush seems almost aimless in his wanderings. I miss Ronald Reagan.
You either believe in the rule of law, or you don't.
If you don't, you are no different than Bill Clinton.
If the law does not allow for an exception, it means THERE IS NO EXCEPTION.
How many of you are willing to be hypocrites to defend a couple of law-breaking agents?
Talk is cheap.
And I will defend the law more than I will a drug smuggler!
An ILLEGAL alien drug smuggler!
Those Border agents did their job, you weren't there nor was I but when an AMERICAN says they defend a bum drug smuggler and NOT the law and those who upkeep the law it is a sad day in America!!
Anymore than those that tried to convict our Military not to long ago when they were accused. We all supported and stood by our military and I would do it again just as I stand by the BORDER PATROL AGENTS!
Anyone can come over the OPEN border, terroists with suitcase nuclear weapons and stinking drug smugglers!
Why doesn't Rohrbacher slam the jury of the agents peers that convicted the two border agents.
For shooting a drug smuggler and an illegal in the ass???????
This is b.s. and I am losing patience with the republican party and THIS president.
Because he knows that to do so would bring the facts of the case into public knowledge, and destroy his craven pandering.
Bush makes me sick. I will never vote for another Republican(no matter who the alternative is) if they aren't serious about stopping illegal immigration. Bush doesn't care about the illegal immigration problem and it's obvious. The reason the problem is so out of control is because idiots like Bush don't even see it as a problem. Who cares if a liberal democrat gets in office when the nation will be destroyed regardless unless we stop this invasion.
No politician will ever again get my vote unless they understand the damage that illegal immigration is doing to our nation and have the balls to do what is necessary to stop it.
Well then blame the jury.
Shame on the Congressmen trying to cover up for these men.
Thanks for sharing your view of this whole unfortunate affair.
I would add tha We as a people for the most part lost our respect for the law in the 1990s.. when Senators covered up for an impeached President and a government refused to do its duty and enforce its laws without prejudice. The repercussions are still being felt to this day.
That being said, the biggest mistake these agents made was policing their rounds as part of a clean-up of the scene, imo.
In the heat of the moment, people do things that they wished they hadn't, only to find it makes the outcome more severe than it might have been initially.
I'm guessing these guys had a history of trouble. Border patrol and police personnel would have covered for them otherwise. Somebody -- maybe lots of people -- wanted to get rid of them, and they provided the ammo.
Personally I don't have a problem with the idea of Border Patrol agents shooting KNOWN illegal border-crossing drug-smugglers in the back, but it doesn't sound like that's what really happened here.
Say speaking of cheap, you still using those illegals on your projects?
We are losing our souls due to anger at our opposition.
Those Border agents realized that they screwed up, yet most of us cant, because of ideology.
It is exactly what we accuse the Left of doing, and we should be better than that, but more and more often, we are not.
I believe one of the two had been named Border Patrol "agent of the year," or some such thing. Perhaps another FReeper can elaborate.
I can barely comment. I'm just too sad and angry. Prayers for these BPs.
"Is President Bush the only guy involved in this case."
No Bush isn't the only one to blame but he the most powerful individual in the world so he carries most of the blame when it comes immigration is this nation. I also blame him for not pardoning these guys when he has the power to do so.
I don't like Bush or any other politician that doesn't seem to understand that illegal immigration is even a problem when it's the biggest problem facing this nation. It's obvious Bush doesn't think illegal immigration is a bad thing.
If you could argue the subject, you wouldn't try to change it.
"This country is about due process, not vigilante justice."
If the government is going to protect Americans than the citizens themselves have a right to whatever it takes to defend themselves and take back their country.
I don't know what really happened here. I read your version and did some searching. I found a few mentions of attempted cover-up, but not much.
Most telling though is that of all the replies to your post, not a single one refuted your version. I don't know you personally, but we've been on the same side of an argument before and I know a bit about your background. I can only conclude that you are correct and that we have another round of FRknee-jerking going on here.
Thanks for your insight.
Besides, once the invaders become proficent in mine detection,avoidance and disarming, we can ship them to Iraq to earn their citizenship. :)
It's 'compassionate conservatism': citizenship with job training!
But you should really look at my 'in forum' column, I've been all over this issue.
Bit off topic, but did you know Bare Bottoms, Barry Seals uhhh 'flying partner'?
We are losing our souls due to anger at our opposition.
It's part of how we will in the end, bite it, so to speak.
No nation has survived the ages, not even the wondrous works of our Founding Fathers is impervious to the frailties of the human condition and those who prey and play on it for their own purposes.
The coming 2008 election will likely be the defining event that will reveal the true nature and depth of the deceptions we have been made to endure as our slide quickens into the abyss of history.
We can all then embrace victimhood as we will be nothing more than just that, victims of guile and treachery at the hands of our own.
I wish the agents and the families well and also strength and resolve to make it thru the years as best they can.
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton, Western District of Texas
MYTH VS. REALITYTHE FACTS OF WHY THE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTED AGENTS COMPEAN AND RAMOS
Myth: THE AGENTS WERE JUST DOING THEIR JOBS
Reality: Securing our nations borders can be a tough and dangerous job. Often, Border Patrol agents find themselves in difficult and dangerous situations. We give them guns and allow them to defend themselves. Border Patrol training allows for the use of deadly force when an agent reasonably fears imminent bodily injury or death. An agent is not permitted to shoot an unarmed suspect who is running away.
There was no credible evidence that the agents were in a life-threatening situation or that Aldrete, the Mexican alien, had a weapon that would justify the use of deadly force. In fact, Border Patrol Agent Juarez, who was at the scene, testified at trial that he did not draw his pistol because he did not believe there was a threat. He also testified that Aldrete did not have a weapon and was almost to Mexico when Agent Compean began firing at him.
In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false. That is a crime and prosecutors cannot look the other way.
Myth: THE GOVERNMENT LET A DRUG SMUGGLER GO FREE
Reality: My office would have much preferred to see Aldrete convicted and sent to prison for his crimes. We are in the business of putting guys like Aldrete behind bars. In fact, this office leads the nation in the number of drug smuggling cases we prosecute. Because the agents could not identify him, found no fingerprints, could not tie him to the van and did not apprehend him after shooting him, the case against Aldrete could not be proven.
Myth: THESE BORDER PATROL AGENTS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED
Reality: The crimes committed by these agents rise to the level of felonies and are not mere administrative oversights. This was not a simple case of discharge of a firearm that was not reported. The truth of this case is that Agents Compean and Ramos shot 15 times at an unarmed man who was running away from them and who posed no threat.
This office cannot ignore these agents crimes just because the person they shot turned out to be a drug smuggler. Our system of justice requires that a person be tried in a court of law before he is punished. We do not permit police officers to summarily punish those whom the officers think have committed crimes. A police officer cannot shoot at an unarmed suspect who does not pose an immediate serious threat to the life of the officer or a bystander.
In order to maintain the rule of law, federal prosecutors cannot look the other way when law enforcement officers shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, then lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false.
Myth: ALDRETE HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING MORE DRUGS INTO THE UNITED STATES
Reality: Aldrete has not been subsequently arrested for drug smuggling. Our office is in the business of prosecuting drug traffickers and alien smugglers. We are on the front lines of this battle and we aggressively prosecute these criminals every day in court. In fact, the Western District of Texas leads the nation in the number of individuals we prosecute for illegally smuggling drugs into this country. If we had a provable case against Aldrete, we would prosecute him.
Myth: THE GOVERNMENT GAVE ALDRETE BLANKET IMMUNITY FOR HIS CRIMES
Reality: Agent Compean failed to arrest Aldrete when he attempted to surrender; instead, Compean tried to hit Aldrete with the butt of his shotgun, at which time Aldrete began to run towards the border. The agents shot at him 15 times, hitting him once, knocking Aldrete to the ground.
Compean and Ramos chose not to walk over to the wounded Aldrete and arrest him; rather, they re-holstered their guns, turned around and left the scene. When Aldrete then got back to Mexico without having been apprehended and identified, there was no longer any way to tie him to the load of marijuana, except through his own admissions.
Prosecutors promised Aldrete they would not use his truthful statements and testimony to prosecute him for the events that occurred on Feb. 17, 2005. Prosecutors around the country routinely make similar representations to obtain crucial testimony. This type of use immunity does not give blanket immunity for any crimes he may have committed or may commit in the future. If there were other admissible evidence besides his own statements sufficient to convict him, he could be prosecuted for the offense he describes.
As a practical matter, the promise to Aldrete gave up very little since the case against him was not prosecutable. There was no way to prosecute Aldrete while he was in Mexico. He could not have forced him to come back to the United States to be prosecuted, and there was no evidence against him until he agreed to cooperate.
Myth: ALDRETE HAD A GUN AND THE AGENTS ONLY FIRED IN SELF DEFENSE
Reality: Trial testimony from other Border Patrol agents who were at the scene and who arrived shortly after the shooting shows that this is not true. Testimony further revealed that Agents Compean and Ramos never took cover nor did they ever warn the other agents to take cover. This action demonstrates that they did not perceive a threat.
In his statement to investigators, Compean admitted that Aldrete had attempted to surrender with both hands open and in the air.
Had Agents Compean and Ramos truly believed Aldrete was a threat, they would not have abandoned him after the shooting and they would have warned their fellow agents who arrived at the scene to stay out of the open while an armed suspect was on the loose. If the agents had believed that the shooting was justified then they would have left the crime scene undisturbed and let the investigation absolve them.
The agents knew that Aldrete did not have a weapon and they knew he posed no threat to them as he fled. Agent Juarez also testified that Aldrete was surrendering to Compean with his hands open and empty palms turned to Compean.
Myth: THE AGENTS WERE NOT SURE OF WHAT THEY SAW BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Reality: The events of Feb. 17, 2005, occurred at approximately 1:00 P.M MT.
Myth: JOHNNY SUTTON IS AN OVERZEALOUS PROSECUTOR WHO IS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE LAW
Reality: These agents were found guilty by a unanimous jury in a United States District Court after a trial that lasted more than two and a half weeks.
The two agents were represented by experienced and aggressive trial attorneys, both of whom vigorously challenged the Governments evidence through cross examination.
Both agents told their stories from the witness stand and had full opportunities to explain their version of events and to offer their own evidence. The jury heard everything including the defendants claims of self defense. The problem for Agents Compean and Ramos is that the jury did not believe their stories because they were not true.
Myth: THESE AGENTS ARE FACING TOO MUCH TIME IN FEDERAL PRISON
Reality: Congress determined the penalties imposed on Compean and Ramos by setting the punishment for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence at a mandatory minimum of ten years (on top of any other sentence imposed). Congress did not make an exception for law enforcement officers.
Myth: THE DRUG SMUGGLER WAS AWARDED A GREEN CARD
Reality: Aldrete was not given a green card which would enable him to have permanent legal resident status in this country. A military physician in the United States removed the bullet from Aldrete because it was an important piece of evidence and because the law requires the government to render such assistance. In order to have the bullet removed, meet with federal investigators and to testify in court in El Paso, he was entitled to come into the United States on a limited basis within a limited geographical area and only for those purposes. The last time he was legally allowed to enter the United States was in February 2006.
Myth: ALDRETE NEVER HAD HIS HANDS UP AND WAS NOT ATTEMPTING TO SURRENDER
Reality: In their sworn testimony, Agent Compean and Agent Juarez both testified that Aldrete did have his hands in the air in an effort to surrender.
Myth: COMPEAN WAS BLOODIED FROM A STRUGGLE WITH ALDRETE
Reality: Trial testimony showed that the only blood on Agent Compean was between his thumb and forefinger and was a result of him improperly holding his weapon. When asked if he was injured, he said no and when further asked if he wanted to file a report for his injury, he again said no.
Myth: THESE AGENTS DID NOT REPORT THE SHOOTING TO SUPERVISORS BECAUSE THE SUPERVISORS WERE ON THE SCENE OF THE SHOOTING
Reality: The trial testimony of the defendants, fellow Border Patrol agents who were on the scene and who arrived shortly thereafter, as well as taped radio communications showed that there were no supervisors at the scene at the time of the shooting. The agents knew they must report any discharge of a firearm and had just received training to this effect the day before this shooting. Further, Agent Ramos was a Border Patrol firearms instructor and a member of the evidence recovery team. He was well aware of this requirement as he had taught this to other agents. They did not report the discharge
because they knew the shooting was not justified.
Furthermore, based on their training and experience, they were aware of what law enforcement resources would be dispatched to the crime scene to investigate a shooting, including sector evidence team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement.
Myth: ILLEGAL ALIENS DO NOT HAVE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Reality: The courts have held that the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects all persons in the United States whether they are here legally or illegally. It is a violation of the 4th Amendment to shoot an unarmed person who poses no threat to the shooter. This law applies regardless of immigration status.
Myth: AGENT RAMOS CLAIMS THAT THE BULLET EXTRACTED FROM ALDRETE MIGHT NOT HAVE COME FROM HIS SERVICE REVOLVER
Reality: Agent Ramos stipulated and agreed before trial that the bullet extracted from Aldrete came from his service weapon. Independent forensic analysis also showed that the bullet extracted from Aldrete matched Agent Ramos weapon.
Myth: AGENT RAMOS WAS BORDER PATROL AGENT OF THE YEAR
Reality: Agent Ramos has never received any formal recognition or award for being the Border Patrol Agent of the year. In fact, he has been arrested on at least two occasions for domestic abuse and was formally disciplined for conduct unbecoming a federal officer.
Here is some cheap talk for you::::::: WHY DOES NO ONE ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS???????? aren't those rules of law??????? WHY DO THOSE LAWS NOT MATTER? WHEN YOU FREAKIN FOLLOW THOSE LAWS, THEN YOU CAN PANDER TO AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT DRUG SMUGGLER WHO WAS SHOT IN THE BUTT. If the freakin immigration laws were enforced this would have been much less likely to happen. WHY DOESN'T THAT LAW MATTER TO ANYONE? I don't freakin care if the guy got shot in the butt, WHY DID US OFFICIALS GO FIND HIM TO FIND CHARGES AND GIVE IMMUNITY TO A FREAKIN DRUG SMUGGLER? If 80% or more of politicians did not pander and coddle illegal immigrants, this may not have happened. And now he is suing and will end up a multimillionaire.
I hope that they will serve as an example to their fellow agents, by showing them that anyone can make a mistake, but if you try to cover up that mistake, it is very hard to defend your actions.
Your post should be a sticky on the main page.