John Wagley
Government Security News
March 12, 2014

Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol Michael Fisher has issued a new directive clarifying use of force rules for border agents. The clarification stems partly from criticism in recent years by civil rights activists and others that Border Patrol hasn’t provided enough accountability for cases in which agents have used deadly force.

Agents aren’t allowed to fire at moving vehicles unless the agent has a reasonable belief that deadly force is being used against an agent or another person, according to the directive. Agents should also not place themselves in the path of a moving vehicle or use their body to block a vehicle’s path. They should instead seek tactical advantage over dangerous situations and avoid situations where a deadly response is deemed necessary.

Agents should also not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles unless they have a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an “imminent danger of death or serious injury.” Border Patrol agents have been assaulted with rocks more than 1,700 times since 2010, according to a memorandum by Fisher on the directive. Agents have used deadly force more than 43 times during such occasions, resulting in 10 deaths.

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