The mother of a Mexican teenager killed by U.S. Border Patrol agents filed a federal lawsuit in Arizona on Tuesday.
The mother, Araceli Rodriguez, is demanding a jury listen to claims that she and her legal team will put forward about the 2012 death of her 16-year-old on Jose.
Rodriguez’s son, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, was killed by Border Patrol agents while walking home after a game of basketball. Rodriguez lives in the Mexico border town of Nogales and was on Mexican property when he was shot.
When Rodriguez was killed, he was walking on Calle International – a road running parallel to the U.S. - Mexico border fence. According to the ACLU, he was walking roughly 30 feet away from the sheer cliff on which the border fence is built. The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, says Rodriguez posed no threat to the Border Patrol agents when he was gunned down.
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An autopsy report shows that Rodriguez was shot twice in the head and then eight more times after dropping to the ground. The FBI reviewed his death and chose not to file criminal charges against the agents. Like all federal law enforcement agencies, Border Patrol lacks any independent review board.
"The U.S. Border Patrol agents who killed my son in a senseless act of violence are still out there and they need to be brought to justice," Araceli Rodríguez told the ACLU. "The U.S. government has not held the agents who shot my son accountable and that is why I am bringing this lawsuit."
Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney working with the group’s Immigrant’s Rights Project, says deaths like Rodriguez’s are sadly common.
"Jose Antonio’s death is unfortunately not unique," Gelernt said. "Border Patrol is using excessive and unnecessary force against people on both sides of the border. Agents continue to violate the Constitution with impunity."
Araceli Rodriguez is seeking damages, including punitive damages, in her lawsuit.