US Border Patrol: “Patently False” Photos of Kids Shooting at Migrant Targets Part of a Local Event

UPDATE, February 1, 2014, 10:30 AM ET: The pictures in question were part of the 2013 San Diego Fallen Agents Memorial Run. And several of the pictures showing kids at target practice can be found on at the run’s official page.

In response to a story originally published in Mexico’s Excelsior that showed images of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents teaching children how to shoot paintball pellets at what appear to be migrant cutout targets near the San Diego/Tijuana border, a spokesperson for the San Diego Border Patrol said such media reports were “patently false” and that the photos were part of a local 2013 community event, according to an email statement received tonight from Latino Rebels.

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Here is what Jackie Wasiluk of the CBP San Diego office wrote:

Media reports that the U.S. Border Patrol provides training on how to “attack migrants” are patently false. The photos published as part of these allegations were from a local event meant to bring members of the community together to build relationships and increase awareness about law enforcement. The U.S. Border Patrol, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in the area, participated in this local public exposition in June 2013, which included displays, demonstrations and activities. This specific activity was meant to create awareness about law enforcement tools used to address some violent situations without the use of deadly force. The U.S. Border Patrol takes pride in participating in community events to help build awareness about our activities and operations.

This is a Storify slideshow of what Latino Rebels Storify published earlier this evening:

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SwaneagleHarijan says:

The racism along the border is well documented and this whole thing is no help. Nothing like shooting at human image targets and teaching kids to do that. Shooting unarmed kids and adults is a tragic reality especially considering the severe damage NAFTA has done to Mexico by ruining over 2 million Mexican farmers with cheap GMO corn, then killing some of them for trying desperately to do something to feed their families. So brave. Making me sick.

robertsba2011 says:

My question is, why would they use a HUMAN target at this event, period? Is there some reason they could not use Targets? Or have the children practice their aim by shooting cans or some other non human form? And one more thing, these targets are adolescent sized, not adult sized. I simply think having these kids practice shooting at a human form is, yes, dehumanizing. And I do not think it was unintentional in that sense.