[Murderous violence by U.S. Border Patrol agents against Mexicans along the border is a common occurrence. That is why the “gang of 8” bill, which proposes more such agents and a more militarized border zone, will surely mean an increased number of unjustified actions by U.S. authorities, such as the killing of Carlos Lamadrid. The following statement and sample letter by Derechos Humanos describes what happened.]
On March 21, 2011, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, Carlos Lamadrid, was killed by Border Patrol Agent Lucas Tidwell in broad daylight in Douglas, Arizona, on the border next to the town of Agua Prieta, Mexico. Despite the fact that Carlos had his back to the agent and was halfway up a ladder at the time, the agent opened fire, hitting Carlos four times in the back.
After being shot, Carlos, who was still alive at the time, was handcuffed and dragged by Border Patrol agents. It took more than 45 minutes for help to arrive, and Carlos Lamadrid died as a result of his injuries.
We of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos have been told that the U.S. Attorney is seriously considering NOT moving forward with the prosecution of Agent Tidwell, despite the fact that there are numerous witnesses and videos on both sides of the border of the events of that afternoon.
We need YOU to take a moment to send a letter to the U.S. Attorneys, demanding justice for Carlos Lamadrid.
Below is the letter that Derechos Humanos has submitted. We invite you to use our language or modify it to send your own message. Please join us in demanding justice for yet another victim of Border Patrol violence!
Eric Holder, Jr.
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
John S. Leonardo
United States Attorney
District of Arizona
405 W. Congress Street, Suite 4800
Tucson, AZ 85701-5040
RE: Carlos Reynaldo Lamadrid
Dear U.S. Attorney General Holder,
As a human rights organization based in Tucson, Arizona, we are reaching out to you about a matter that has recently been brought to our attention. We have been made aware that the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Justice is currently considering whether to prosecute Border Patrol Agent Lucas Tidwell for the murder of 19-year-old Carlos Lamadrid on March 21, 2011. We are writing you to urge to you to do your duty diligently and pursue justice in this case.
Carlos Lamadrid was shot four times in the back by Agent Tidwell. At the time of the shooting, he was halfway up a ladder, with his back to the agent. Although he was unarmed, we are told by witnesses that after he was shot, he was handcuffed and dragged, and that the agents may be responsible for a delay of more than 45 minutes before medical assistance was rendered to him. There are multiple witnesses and video evidence on both sides of the border that can shed light on the events of that day. Even from the available evidence, it is blatantly clear that this was an unjustified shooting. To choose not to move forward with prosecution is unacceptable.
Our community has long suffered violence at the hands of Border Patrol agents on the border, Attorneys General Holder and Leonardo. Compounding this murder and the tragic results is the unprecedented secrecy and delay involved in these cases. Information that the public is entitled to know, as is the standard practice for police agencies across the country for officers involved in incidents, has been repeatedly denied when the perpetrators of the violence are agents of the Department of Homeland Security. This has created additional tensions within our ravaged communities, who feel that agents often act with a complete disregard for the communities in which they work and with impunity when they violate the rights of those they encounter. This must not be permitted to continue.
We urge you to move forward with the prosecution of Agent Tidwell for this heinous murder. The Department of Homeland Security operates within our communities. Border Patrol agents must live and work among our families, schools, and homes. We must be able to trust that their actions are held to the same standard of justice that any of us would be held to. The events in this case deserve a fair and thorough investigation, and the friends and family of Carlos Lamadrid deserve the closure that only justice can provide.