Witnesses to a Beating


Witnesses to a Beating

At Whiskey 2, the confrontation between border enforcement officers and Anastasio caught the attention of passersby on a pedestrian bridge that overlooked the area. Non-party witnesses say that they saw officers attempt to put Anastasio in the back seat of an SUV, but he prevented them from doing so by bracing his feet on the door of the vehicle. Officers then dragged the handcuffed Anastasio behind the SUV and placed him face down on the ground. Some agents then kneeled on his neck and lower back, while others kicked, punched, and stomped on his head and body.

Witness note that Anastasio did not in any way attempt to harm the border enforcement agents. He was not resisting, but mainly lying passively on the ground. Sergio Gonzalez Gomez, who was walking with two friends on pedestrian bridge heading toward Mexico, saw Anastasio laying still on his stomach on the ground still, hands behind his back handcuffed. And when the agents beat him, he would cry out for help. Humberto Navarrete, one of Sergio’s friends and who also made a cell phone recording of the events, similarly said that he did not notice Anastasio resisting, either physically or verbally. He saw no movement at all. He only heard Anastasio screaming for help. Navarrete also said that an agent who had just arrived in a vehicle “went straight to Hernandez, who was still on the ground and kicked him…. The kick was hard, like a soccer kick.”

Witnesses also observed when Border Patrol Agent Jerry Vales arrived on the scene. Ashley Young, who was returning to the U.S from Tijuana with her friend Mayra Salas, saw and videotaped part of the tasing (Anastasio Tasing Video). She states that there was little communication between Vales, who had just arrived, and the other officers. He arrived with the taser and almost immediately started screaming ‘Stop resisting. Stop resisting.” But Anastasio was not moving or resisting. When the first tase was applied, Anastasio’s body just convulsed and ‘he screamed out with an agonizing scream’. Ashley then witnessed 3 more applications of the taser. The last tase was applied directly to Anastasio’s chest, without the use of darts. By then, there were at least a dozen agents circling around Anastasio, and perhaps around 25 in the area.

After the final tasing, several officers swarmed Anastasio, putting him with his face on the ground and pressing him with their knees on his head and back.  Ashley said that she saw a few officers making motions with their legs as if they were kicking Anastasio. She also saw Agent Vales make a swinging motion with his arm toward Anastasio. And Humberto stated that he observed officers punching Anastasio repeatedly in the ribs. Officers eventually pushed Anastasio’s legs toward his back and zip-tied his ankles to his handcuffed hands. At that point, Anastasio became motionless.


This video, which was recorded by witness Humberto Navarrete, captures Anastasio’s cries for help.


[Anastacio] ‘Que les hago?’ (What did I do?)

[Anastacio] ‘Ayudenme.’ (Help me)

[Anastacio] ‘Ah. No! No! Ayuda! Ayúdenme! Ya! Por favor! Señores ayúdenme! Ay, ay, ay.’ (Ah. No! No! Help! Help me! Please! People help me! Ay, ay, ay.)

[Male’s voice] ‘Stop resisting’

[Anastacio] ‘Ayuden me por favor!’ (Help me please! )

[Anastacio] ‘Me tratan como un animal’ ‘Ah, ah, ah. No. Ayuda. No! Ay ay.’
(‘You’re treating me like an animal’) (‘Ah, ah, ah. No. Help. No! Ay ay.’)

[Female voice] ‘Ya dejenlo!’ (Leave him alone!)

[Anastacio] ‘No!’

[Female voice] ‘Hay, esta madre!’ (Damn, this shit!)

[Anastacio] ‘No. No. No. Ay! No. No! Quitenmelo! Mama! Ay! No!’ (No. No.
No. Oh! No. No! Take him off me! Mother! Ay! No! “).

[Male voices] ‘Stop. Stop. Stop.’

[Humberto] ‘Ay no. Hey he is not resisting! Why, why are you guys using excessive force on him?’


[Sergio] ‘Son cuatro’. (There’s four)

[Anastasio] ‘No! No!’

[Sergio] ‘Lo siguen golpeando’. (They keep hitting him)

[Anastasio] ‘No! No!’

[Sergio] ‘Lo siguen golpeando con…’ (unintelligible) (‘They keep hitting him with…’)


[Humberto] ‘He is not resisting guys! Why you guys keep, keep pressing on him’?

[Male’s voice] (unintelligible).

[Humberto] ‘He is not even resisting’!




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