A Different Story


A Different Story

Anastasio is, of course, not able to produce his own narrative. But witnesses to the events, including Anastasio’s brother Pedro and even Border Patrol agents themselves, do help to give him voice, telling a different story—one that dismantles the narrative of Anastasio as unruly and violent.

When he arrived at the San Ysidro Border Patrol Station, Anastasio was indeed carrying a jug of water. According to Pedro, a Border Patrol agent, Ducoing, ordered Anastasio to thrown the water into a trashcan. Anastasio took the command literally and began to pour the water into the bin, as opposed to discarding the jug itself. The agent became angry and slapped the jug out of his hands. He then pushed Anastasio up against a wall and kicked his ankles apart several times (Pedro notes that Anastasio suffered a bad injury at work and that his right ankle was held in place by a metal screw). Anastasio cried and told the agent that he was hurting him and asked why he was doing that to him. The agent responded by asking Anastasio if he wanted to be beaten.

The agent then handcuffed Anastasio and took him into an interview room. There Anastasio told the agent that he had hurt him and complained about the pain and mistreatment. The agent took no action to address Anastasio’s concerns. Border Patrol Policy stipulates that detainees needing medical attention are to be evaluated by qualified personnel. Agents who have been accused of mistreatment are also obligated to report the complaint to their superiors and remove themselves from further interactions with the complainant.

After the interview room, the agent led Anastasio to a processing area, where other officers took over.  While in this area, Anastasio complained about the pain and about being mistreated. He also requested medical attention. Agent Sandra Cardenas took a quick look at Anastasio’s ankle and then stepped outside the area to ask another agent, Jose Galvan, if an Emergency Medical Technician had been called. Galvan responded that they were waiting for a supervisor to respond. A Border Patrol Supervisor, Ishmael Finn, eventually came to see Anastasio, who reiterated his complaints about mistreatment and request for medical treatment. Instead of addressing Anastasio’s concerns, Finn told his agents to immediately remove him to Mexico. Ducoing, the agent about whom Anastasio complained, was one of the agents assigned to transport him.


‘When they processed us. We arrived, the entire way I carried the backpack, so [Anastasio] had a gallon of water and the officer told him to throw away the water. He said—throw away the water, and then my brother said, —yes; he was throwing it away in the bin, and then the officer said—hey I told you to throw away the water; but he was pouring the water not the gallon. So then the officer got upset, and said—throw the water away. He grabbed him like this and backed him against a wall.’

Pedro Hernández Rojas, Brother of Anastasio

A.  We were taught the process if there’s an allegation, how we should proceed.

Q.  And what were you taught about the process in which you should proceed?

A.  We were told that if an individual wants to complain about an agent, that we need to go ahead and stop talking to him, get a supervisor, and that supervisor come over and take a statement of his complaint.


Q.  So that your understanding was, if there’s an allegation against you of some improper conduct, that you should stop your interaction with the person who has suggested that and bring in your supervisor to take the complaint?

A.  Correct.

Gabriel Ducoing, Border Patrol Agent, Transcript of Videotaped Deposition 

‘I know from what Agent Krasielwicz had told me that the area where AHR had crossed the border and was apprehended had very rugged terrain and required physical agility to navigate. Concluding any ankle problems AHR had been preexistent and not of sufficient seriousness to warrant medical care, I told him that his prior injury was not an issue for Border Patrol to deal with.’

Ishmael Finn, Border Patrol Supervisor 



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