Eric Katz
govexec.com
March 3, 2014

Amid reports of improper use of force, U.S. Border Patrol agents are defending their use of lethal weapons against criminals and undocumented aliens who throw rocks at them.

The National Border Patrol Council, which represents 17,000 BP agents and staff, said Monday both the Homeland Security Department’s use of force policy and precedent set in federal court support the use of firearms against an individual throwing rocks. In the 1989 case Graham v. Connor, the Supreme Court said an “objective reasonableness” standard — to include severity of the crime being committed, the immediate threat and whether the assailant is resisting arrest — should be used in determining whether law enforcement has used excessive force.

“Rocks can maim and kill just as easily as a knife or a firearm,” NBPC said in a statement. “Every day on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Border Patrol agents are assaulted with rocks, bricks, and other projectiles. These weapons are readily available and have the potential to do great harm.”

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