Deathscapes

A Failure of Justice

Deathscapes

A Failure of Justice

The family’s suffering has been compounded by the fact that none of the agents involved have been held accountable for Anastasio’s death. It’s unclear if CBP disciplined any of the agents as a result of their actions. And, perhaps more importantly, none of them faced any punishment through the criminal justice system.

The family, through a representative, contacted the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) immediately after Anastasio’s death to inquire about any investigations. DOJ officials refuse to provide the family with any information. It was not until 2012, two years later, that DOJ opened up a criminal investigation into Anastasio’s death. And it was not until 2015 that  the department closed it’s investigation, deciding not to bring charges again any of the agents.

The press release (Federal Officials Close Investigation) announcing the DOJ’s decision noted that the federal government could not “disprove the agents’ claim that they used reasonable force in an attempt to subdue and restrain a combative detainee’. It further noted that ‘the federal agents’ restraint and deployment of the taser against Hernandez-Rojas . . . was not unlawful’ and that ‘the federal agents’ action were not done without due caution and circumspection’. DOJ prosecutor’s essentially relied on the testimony of border agents, seemingly discounting the testimony of others, to reach their conclusion. In the press release, Anastasio was portrayed as ‘non-compliant and physically assaultive’.

The family was understandably devastated by the failure to procure justice for Anastasio.

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“We waited more than five years for an answer to our pain, and we are sad, disillusioned and angered by today’s announcement. We expected and hoped for a more positive response given the brutality we saw in eyewitness videos. The government failed to deliver justice today.’

Maria Puga, widow of Anastasio Hernández Rojas


“This is not justice. It seems like justice is only for the wealthy and not for the poor. It took five years of struggle just for them to deny us . They say that no one is responsible for the death of my son, but they are responsible. The agents that beat him, electrocuted him, and choked him are responsible.’

Luz Rojas, mother of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas


“The law should apply to everyone. No one should be above the law. But today it seems like these agents are above the law. They are immune.

If someone hits a dog, they get charged. These agents killed my brother, but nothing will happen to them. That is not right. Where is the justice?’

Bernardo Hernandez Rojas, brother of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas



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All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.

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