Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz received a two-year prison sentence for mishandling his handcuffs on a known-illegal alien drug smuggler. He was charged by the Obama Administration Justice Department using the vague “civil rights” strategy and was convicted last week of lifting the arms of a prisoner while handcuffed.
According to the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council, the government’s case is based on false testimony that is contradicted by the facts. This includes the charge that Agent Diaz was physically abusive to the then minor “MBE” as noted by court documents and transcripts that Diaz allegedly put his knee on his back and pulled back on his handcuffs.
“However, given the time of day during the incident, October 16, 2008 at about 2 a.m. and lack of lighting it would be impossible to have actually seen much if anything. The agent who stood next to Mr. Diaz, Marco Ramos testified that he did not see anything that was claimed to have taken place,” Andy Ramirez, president of LEOAC explained. “Other witnesses made claims that were contradictory amongst each other, and some later admitted in court to having perjured themselves, including Gabriel Lerma. Such admissions were ignored by the court and government who continued the prosecution having filed charges against Mr. Diaz for lying to investigators.”
Despite the explanations, the Mexican Consulate pushed for charges against the Border Patrol agent. They contend the Mexican drug smuggler, a minor when he was arrested, was hit several times. The Mexican government also states the beatings continued because the drug smuggler could not give agents the name of his boss. The young drug smuggler also claimed the Border Patrol agent threatened him with continued violence until he provided agents with the name of his boss.
All these claims were disputed by Agent Diaz.
“The doper claimed he suffered no injuries during his testimony during the trial. He was sore from his shoulders. However, that was due to the weight of the drug load, approximately 75 pounds that he carried across the border. There were two dopers apprehended during the incident and 150 pounds total drugs seized. The court sealed the pictures of the doper, which would corroborate the defense that there were neither injuries received or bruising to his lower arms where the handcuffs were placed nor any bruising resulting from the alleged knee on his back. The only marks on his body came from the straps of the pack he carried containing the drugs,” Ramirez said.
Family member’s reaction to the harsh verdict turned to fear for “Chito’s” life as law enforcement officers are often prime targets for prison violence.
“I am coping with the fact that he could potentially be home in six months for good behavior,” said Diana Guadarrama Diaz, wife of Agent Diaz. “I am still angry and scared. Anything can happen inside prison walls.”
The perplexing conviction of a Border Patrol agent for handcuff abuse is certain to have a chilling effect for those agents in the field who encounter drug smugglers every day.
DOJ remains under fire for the weapons it let “walk” under Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF’s) Fast and Furious program. That failed program lead to the unsolved murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry (BP Agent Robert Rosas was killed on duty in California by drug smugglers- two individuals have been incarcerated for the murder of Rosas, but others remain at large) and the murder of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata. These murders remain clear memories for agents arresting the barrage of drug smugglers that continue to cross the U.S./Mexico border.
“I think this case will not only affect Border Patrol agents, but all law enforcement officers whose job requires that they use handcuffs,” Mrs. Diaz explained. “It is rulings like these that give the drug cartels the power to run amok. How can a law enforcement officer do their job when they handcuff the individual for their own safety…?
She explains the looming threat of potentially violating suspect drug smugglers’ civil rights because handcuffing can cause pain is unfounded. “What’s next? Will law enforcement be banned from talking to people? It’s no wonder cartels don’t respect U.S. law enforcement. During sentencing, the judge said just because you have a badge and gun doesn’t give you the right to violate a drug smugglers rights.”
As for “Chito,” he only needs to look back to the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean case. The two Border Patrol Agents were arrested after chasing a fleeing illegal drug smuggler who was eventually shot in the butt. The Attorney General on the case, Johnny Sutton, went over and beyond his prosecution guidelines and the two agents were sentenced to prison. The public outcry was swift and loud. Talk radio refused to let the injustice stand, and after numerous Congressmen and Senator complaints, the two Border Patrol Agents had their prison sentences commuted by outgoing President George Bush.
“This case, unlike that one, is completely clean – defense wise. Judge directed him to apologize to the victim (not present), the nation, fellow BP Agents, his family… He refused and maintained silence,” Ramirez said. “The judge ignored numerous admissions by their own witnesses of perjury. Word is the government did not want this case sitting out there being campaigned on during the 2012 election cycle, so that Holder/DOJ leaned on the judge.”
Like the Ramos and Compean case, talk radio has picked-up the torch and family members are hopeful “Chito’s” name will be cleared. “We believe we can clear Agent Diaz’ name given the facts in this case and contradictory statements by the ‘star witnesses,’” Ramirez said.
“While the sentence was light compared to what it could have been, Agent Diaz is a hero and this case should have never gone forward even at an administrative level against Chito, which was recommended by the Office of Professional Responsibility to CBP Internal Affairs. Chito was cleared previously by the Office of Inspector General and OPR regarding prosecution. So how this became a criminal case demands intense scrutiny and oversight. It should have been prosecuted against the dopers, and since then, those star witnesses who perjured themselves. Where is the justice in this case? Once again, our government is far more concerned with the so-called rights of criminal illegal-alien dopers than our agents who continue to be prosecuted for doing their job. Congress needs to investigate this case and the pattern of misconduct and abuse that has resulted in an innocent agent going to prison yet again,” concluded Ramirez.
The kicker is the appeal will be heard before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, LA, the same court as the Ramos/Compean cases. So far there is no date for the hearing and experts say it will most likely take three years to reach a judge.
In the meantime, the Diaz family will try to live as normal a life as possible, grocery shopping, getting the children to and from school, homework and praying their father will come home safely.
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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.