Four Border Patrol agents were placed on administrative duties after being involved in an aggressive confrontation with Haitian migrants last year near Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced its decision Friday after completing a months-long investigation of the incident, which attracted national attention in September.
According to CNN, CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility released a 511-page report, saying they didn’t find evidence to prove that Border Patrol agents struck migrants with their reins, but there was an “unnecessary use of force.”
In the viral photos seen in September, the agents appeared to be swinging long reins near migrants who had crossed the border. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the agents, particularly expressing outrage with a video that showed an officer’s horse nearly charging into one of the migrants, who fell into the water.
“It’s horrible what you saw,” Biden said at the time, according to CNN. “I promise you: those people will pay. … There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences.”
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in statement that “there were failures to make good decisions at multiple levels of the organization,” CNN reports.
“Failures to maintain command and control over Horse Patrol Units, lack of appropriate policies and training, and the overall chaotic nature of the situation at Del Rio at the time contributed to the incident,” Magnus continued. “Several agents engaged in unprofessional or dangerous behavior, including one instance in which an agent used denigrating and offensive language.”
According to the report, one Border Patrol agent “acted in an unprofessional manner by yelling comments related to a migrant’s national origin and sex.”
“‘Hey! You use your women? This is why your country’s s**t, you use your women for this,’” the agent said, according to the report.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement to defend the reputation of the U.S. Border Patrol despite the controversial incident.
“The misconduct of several individuals does not reflect the brave and distinguished service of the Agents of the United States Border Patrol,” he said, according to CNN. “The organizational failures of policy, procedures, and training that the investigation identified were a disservice to the Agents and the public they serve.”