Justice for José Antonio: Family Demands Accountability for Mexican Teen Killed by U.S. Border Agent

Nearly seven years ago, 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez was killed in Nogales, Mexico, by U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz, who fired his gun from the U.S. side of the border. The teenager — who was unarmed — died face-down on the sidewalk just a couple of blocks from his home. Border Patrol has for years been plagued with hundreds of allegations of abuse and unnecessary use of deadly force, including the cross-border killings of at least six people on Mexican soil. Most cases are not investigated, and border agents are rarely criminally charged for using violent force. After nearly five years of legal delays, José Antonio’s mother, Araceli Rodríguez, and his grandmother, Taide Elena, brought Lonnie Swartz to trial for second-degree murder in 2017. A Tucson jury acquitted him and were deadlocked on manslaughter charges. In a second trial in November 2018, Swartz was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. During Democracy Now!’s trip to the borderlands, we spoke with José Antonio’s family, including both Araceli Rodríguez and Taide Elena, at the exact spot where he was gunned down by Swartz. Araceli Rodríguez says, “He was murdered, and there has been no justice. He was killed, and the world is the same. He was murdered, and Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz is still free.”

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Author: DemocracyNow.org

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