June 25, 2020

The following cases and patterns of persistent toxic behavior are from a July 2020 complaint about Border Patrol’s Vehicle Pursuit Policy and the Deadly Pursuit and Crash on June 25, 2020 in El Paso filed by the ACLU to the CRCL and DHS OIG.

“On June 25, 2020, another Border Patrol vehicle chase led to a crash that killed  seven people in the same location in El Paso, TX. Gustavo Cervantes, 18, of El  Paso; Yadira Barrera, 16, of El Paso; Liliana Jimenez, 16, of El Paso; Jorge  Manuel Acosta, 19, of El Paso; Oscar Miguel Garcia- Bran, 21, of Guatemala;  Elvira Tot-Chiroy, 19, of Guatemala; and Santos Porfirio-Garcia, 32, of Guatemala were reported deceased by either the El Paso Police or their family  members. Wilmer Gomez of Guatemala was one of three survivors in the vehicle  and says he remembers being chased by approximately seven Border Patrol  vehicles. Other witnesses also recount that Border Patrol vehicles were speeding  in pursuit when the crash occurred.”

“Border Patrol engages in dangerous vehicle pursuit cases that result in an  increase number of deaths and injuries, including a deadly crash that killed seven in El Paso in 2020. Border Patrol refuses to release their vehicle pursuit policy, thereby  making it impossible to review its compliance with relevant guidelines, legal  protections, or police best practices. The high number of injuries and deaths resulting  from Border Patrol’s actions suggest either that the policy fails to protect the safety  and lives of pursuit subjects or that agents are consistently acting outside the bounds of agency policy.”

“From 2015 to 2018 alone, at least 250 people were injured and 22 were killed in a  vehicle crash due to a vehicle pursuit by Border Patrol. The number of people injured in Border Patrol pursuit crashes increased by 42  percent under the Trump administration.” 

Source: Shaw Drake and Jonathan Blazer, ACLU, Letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, “Re: Unresolved Complaints of CBP Misconduct Require Immediate Attention and Accountability,” March 3, 2021.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Fatal Encounter, Use of Force, Weak Oversight

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, Shared with DHS OIG