Things That Matter

Border Patrol Agent Resigns From The Force After Pleading Guilty To Hitting Migrant In The Face

In a rare example of any amount of justice served against police brutality, a Border Patrol agent recently pled guilty to using excessive force with a migrant and has agreed to resign from his post. On February 16, Jason Andrew McGilvray was on duty as a Calexico-based Border Patrol agent when he allegedly witnessed a migrant crossing the border fence near Gordon’s Well in Imperial County. He took the person into custody and hit them in the face. 

According to court documents, McGilvray “willfully struck [the migrant]. in the face with the intent to deprive [the migrant] of his constitutional right against unreasonable force during search and seizure.”

Credit: @MikeHun03895479 / Twitter

The misdemeanor that remains on McGilvray’s record is not one of assault. It’s one of the intent to deprive a constitutional right against unreasonable force during search and seizure. McGilvray was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and was forced to pay a $25 fine. 

Some think the punishment wasn’t nearly what he deserved.

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“Should have been fired instead of allowed to resign.
He’ll probably get a job a BOP – in a year,” tweets one person. “Only a year of unsupervised probation.. Come on now thats preferential treatment.,” one Latino posted to Facebook. “Any other average Joe would get 3 yrs probation plus 6 months jail time or more.. What a joke the system is when it comes to handing out JUSTICE..”

Meanwhile, some people are trying to argue that McGilvray was just “doing his job.”

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“So what? Big friggin deal!,” commented one middle-aged white man. Another middle-aged white man, this time with a white beard, is taking to blaming the victim, “Some of these people jumping the border can be hostile, sure he might had been wrong for what he did and was man enough to admit it but what did the migrant do?”

In the wake of the El Paso shooting, some Latinos are afraid to know this man is still on the streets.

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Many Latinos are taking to Facebook to share the story and their concern that the man continues to be on the streets. “If I were his neighbor I would be worried,” writes Herman Cerros. “We may be talking of the next mass shooter here.”  George Camacho exasperatedly writes, “That way he can keep striking others. How convenient !!!” Another concerned citizen writes, “This is the kind of person that joins the CBP. They need to be studied.”

Trump has told crowds of police officers that they don’t need to worry about injuring suspects in custody.

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During a Long Island speech a couple of years ago, President Trump announced to a group of applauding police officers, “When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

It is a rare victory to know that at least one aggressive Border Patrol officer is off the force, even while Trump is giving permission to law enforcement to disregard suspects personal safety once in custody. For the record, the Suffolk County Police Department responded to Trump’s statement by asserting that they view the rules around protecting prisoners “extremely seriously.”

The biggest mystery of all is that the details of the investigation have yet to be disclosed.

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Nobody outside of the courtroom knows why McGilvray was charged. It’s highly unlikely that the victim himself sued McGilvray for assault for fear of risking their status, whatever it may be right now. It certainly has been reported that this wasn’t the first time McGilvray was investigated for aggression. The most likely cause for arrest is that a witness, likely another officer, reported the incident to authorities, but it’s all speculative.

No matter the terms of the sentence, this is a rare justice and people are celebrating.

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According to Quartz, “only two agents have been arrested for ‘mission-related misconduct,” in the last three years. Quartz’s investigative study shows that border agents are arrested more often than police officers, but very rarely charged. If the American Immigration Council’s study is to be believed, only 4 percent of alleged misconduct at the hands of Border Patrol Agents leads to action against the officer. We don’t know how many are actually sentenced. McGilvray is one of a minuscule percentage of Border Patrol agents who have been both charged and held accountable.

READ: American Teen Traveling With Multiple Forms Of ID Detained In Border Patrol Facility Plans To Sue The Government