Mounted US Border Patrol agents acted ‘unprofessionally’ and ‘insultingly’ to Haitian migrants trying to enter the US in September 2021, but did not hit them with their reins , according to an official investigation report made public on Friday.
This case had caused a stir in the country and beyond. Photos had shown mounted border guards pushing back migrants near Del Rio, Texas on the border with Mexico.
In one shot, an officer on horseback grabbed a man by his t-shirt. In another, he held a group at bay by twirling his reins in a threatening posture.
‘Despite initial appearances, after careful review and analysis of videos, photos and witness accounts’, investigators found ‘nothing to prove that the border guards involved hit migrants with their reins , whether intentionally or not, ”said Chris Magnus, the head of the border police, during a press conference, presenting the conclusions of the investigation.
However, “an officer acted unprofessionally by shouting insulting and offensive comments regarding the origin” of a migrant, he added.
“The same officer acted in a dangerous manner by forcing his horse to maneuver very close to a small child,” he said again, citing several other failures.
Several agents tried to push the migrants back towards the river between Mexico and the United States, and the mounted units deployed had not been sufficiently trained and coordinated, he explained.
Disciplinary proceedings are underway, Magnus said.
President Joe Biden had promised “consequences” for the police officers involved, describing their behavior as “scandalous” and deeming “horrible (…) to see people treated in this way”.
At the time, thousands of migrants, the majority of them Haitians, had been camping in the area for several days in hopes of being admitted to the United States.