Things That Matter

He Intentionally Drove His Truck Into A Migrant And Now This Border Patrol Agent Gets Off With Simple Probation

Matthew Bowen, a border patrol agent who frequently went on racist tirades and who plead guilty to purposefully driving his car into a migrant in Arizona, was sentenced to three years probation. In a court filing, Bowen admitted to intentionally striking into 23-year-old Antolin Lopez-Aguilar, a Guatemalan man who Bowen believed jumped the border fence. 

After a years-long investigation, text messages were uncovered that showed him lamenting his inability to use harsher tactics because the laws prevented him from doing so. Some feel as though three months of probation is just a slap on a wrist for the violent act. 

The judge had harsh words for Bowen but a light sentence.

“I want you to remember this,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro told Bowen during the federal sentencing hearing. “I can’t ignore the seriousness of this offense. Nationally, people are complaining about ICE and Border Patrol and the job that they do. Your conduct reinforces their stereotypes and makes it much more difficult for your colleagues to perform their duties. It only takes one incident like this to really undermine things.” 

On December 3, 2017, Bowen hit Lopez-Aguilar with his Border Patrol Truck as a way to stop him from crossing the southern border illegally after a camera operator spotted him possibly jumping a fence near Nogales, Arizona.

While Lopez-Aguilar was not able to attend to the hearing, prosecutors say he believed he was going to die during the attack. Moreover, he was unable to receive treatment for the various injuries to his hands, knees, and back and still experiences ongoing pay. 

Bowen admitted to the incident dismissing it as poor judgment as opposed to a vendetta against immigrants which court documents and prosecutors suggest. 

“I made a mistake in judgment by choosing to bump him with my vehicle. I’m thankful he was not seriously injured, and I would like to apologize to the victim sincerely and also to the court,” Bowen said in court. 

Prosecutors said Bowen “accelerated aggressively,” and hit Lopez-Aguilar twice, almost running him over the second time. After the incident, Lopez-Aguilar was charged with unlawful entry into the U.S. and sent to Tuscan by prisoner transport, according to the Washington Post. Prosecutors accused Bowen of filing a false report about the incident on the same day. 

“Chasing a guat with an f150 and accidentally bumped him at like 7 mph,” he wrote in a text the next day. “Just a little push with a ford bumper.” 

Border Patrol agents drive government-issued Ford F-150 trucks. 

The trial reveals documents showing Bowen referring to immigrants as “savages.” 

Prosecutors discovered text messages prior to the attack where Bowen referred to migrants as “subhumans,” “mindless murdering savages,” and said he was upset the laws didn’t allow him to do his job which was “hunting down sh-t-bags with your crew.” 

In another text message, he said agents were treated unfairly and “prosecuted for doing what it takes to arrest these savages.” In another message, Bowen said, “Guys are being made to think any use of force results in you being investigated and so they are letting tonks get away with too much.” 

Bowen’s lawyer Sean Chapman argued that his text messages weren’t racist but rather taken out of context because allegedly there exists a context where calling immigrants savages, subhumans, and tonks is not racist. 

“There have been claims in the media that Mr. Bowen made racist comments about the immigrant community, and it’s simply not true,” Chapman said.

In another series of texts, Bowen called immigrants unworthy of being fire kindling. 

“PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!” Bowen said in a text. “Disgusting subhuman sh-t unworthy of being kindling for a fire.”

Bowen pleads guilty to striking Lopez-Aguilar intentionally. 

“In the court filing, Bowen admits he ‘intentionally struck [the migrant] with an unreasonable amount of force’ and said his actions ‘were not justified and violated [the migrant’s] rights protected by the Constitution of the United States’,” according to the Washington Post

Bowen pled guilty to the crime in August and resigned from the agency. Chapman said his client deserved a lighter sentence because Lopez-Aguilar was barely injured, according to court filings. However, Judge Ferraro denied the request for a mere six months probation believing three years would suffice.

“I’m not going to take the easy way out,” Ferrero said to Bowen. “You need to have a sense of consequence — for the next three years, you’re going to have the same sense of stress that you had coming into this today.”

He will also have to pay $8,000 in restitution fees that will cover Lopez-Aguilar’s medical expenses and have to complete 150 hours of community service. 

A Black Man Says A Group Of White People”Attempted Lynching” Him And It Was Caught On Video

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A Black Man Says A Group Of White People”Attempted Lynching” Him And It Was Caught On Video

Vauhxx Booker / Getty

In Indiana, the culture of white supremacy remains alive and well. According to RTV6 Indianapolis, Indiana at the Ku Klux Klan’s peak, the governor of Indiana, over half of the state’s legislature and nearly 30 percent of all white men born in the state were members. That culture, while not totally alive and well in Indiana revealed itself recently when authorities in Indiana shared that a Black man said he was attacked by a group of white people who attempted to lynch him.

The incident, which went viral on Sunday, was captured in a series of videos posted to Facebook.

The Black man involved in the incident, Vauhxx Booker, is a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission and described the incident which took place in Bloomington’s Lake Monroe saying that five men took him, pinned him to a tree, and beat him while pulling out his hair. The incident happened after Booker said he had mistakenly trespassed on private property “At one point during the attack one of the men jumped on my neck,” Booker in the post shared to Facebook. “I could feel both his feet and his full bodyweight land hard against my neck.”

In his post, Booker said that bystanders attempted to help him and yelled for the men to let him go.

When the men assaulting him replied to the protesters they said “We’re going to break his arms,” and yelled, “Get a noose.” While the comments were not captured on video, Booker has described the attack as a hate crime. He also claimed that he was “almost the victim of an attempted lynching.” “With me still pinned underneath them they kept telling onlookers to leave the ‘boy’ and that everyone else (all white) could go,” Booker wrote in his post.

In response, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources confirmed in a statement that they had responded to a report of a battery in the area on Saturday “on private property adjacent to Monroe Reservoir property.”

According to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the FBI said that they were “aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation.”

Video captured of the incident reveals a group of white men holding Booker against a tree.

I don’t want to recount this, but I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching. I don’t want this to have happened…

Posted by Vauhxx Rush Booker on Sunday, July 5, 2020

In one of the videos, when the person who is filming moves closer to the assailants he says “Please, let him go,” and one of the white men replies “You go.” “You go and we will let him go,” one of the women replies.

In another video posted to Facebook by Booker, a man without a shirt can be seen calling Booker a “nappy-headed bitch.” “We were having a great time and you invaded us,” another man yells in the video “You stupid f******* liberal f****.”

In his post about the incident, Booker wrote that he and a friend were heading to the beach at the lake to attend a lunar eclipse gathering. A man with a Confederate that followed him on an ATV and told Booker and his friend that they were on private property.

“We relayed to him that we believed the organizers had received permission from the property owners to cross, but apologized and went on to our beautiful site just off the water without any further incident. When we arrived we told the event organizer of the encounter and it was relayed that the individual wasn’t the actual property owner and the organizer apologized. Even still, we advised our folks still en route to use the public beach way to avoid any possible conflict arising,” Booker wrote in the Facebook post. “We later found out that these individuals had blocked off the public beach way with a boat and their ATVs claiming that it was also their land. When folks tried to cross them, the assailants yelled, “white power” at them. Honestly, we thought it might just be the one drunken individual with the confederate hat we had encountered earlier who might be instigating the conflict. We decided to just walk back and attempt to simply have a conversation with some of the more sober seeming group members and see if we could smooth things over a bit. We were calm and polite, but looking back now, it’s apparent that these individuals began targeting our group the moment they saw myself, a Black man and were looking to provoke a conflict.”

Booker said that once they came across the people on ATVs they initially seemed calm but “quickly became aggressive” so he and his friend attempted to leave.

Booker claims the group then followed them and then two “jumped me from behind and knocked me to the ground,” Booker said. “Yet DNR refused to arrest any of these individuals, even with multiple the witnesses several who filmed the event and collaborated our accounts. Instead, the officers stated they contacted the Prosecutor’s office who relayed there was no immediate need to arrest anyone, and that the officers would simply file a report. To reiterate, this attack occurred on public land and was recorded by numerous individuals who made statements against the attackers for assaulting them and me. I’m gravely concerned that if any other people of color who were to cross their path they could be killed.”

Booker’s attorney told the Indianapolis Star that no one has been arrested in connection to the incident.

Donald Trump Taunts NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace And Promotes The Display Of Confederate Flags

Things That Matter

Donald Trump Taunts NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace And Promotes The Display Of Confederate Flags

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

As of late, many a user on Twitter are convinced that the President of the United States is attempting to stoke the fires of a race war. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen but there’s no doubt that at the core of Trump’s recent messages of hate, he has no desire at all to help our country heal during this time. Let alone assuage the current culture wars.

Recently, in another one of Trump’s twitter rants, he made a slew of racist attacks and defended the Confederate flag.

During a rant, he unleashed on Twitter, President Trump defended the display of the Confederate flag, attacked former Vice President Joe Biden, made false claims about coronavirus, and said he was victorious in his pandemic response. 

After putting blame on China for the coronavirus, Trump spat out a series of racist attacks which included his defense of the Confederate flag.

Included in his tirade was a verbal attack at Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Recently, Wallace was involved in an incident in which FBI investigated a potential hate crime against him. The FBI investigation ultimately found that a noose found by his car’s stall wasn’t a racist attack against Wallace. It turned out that the noose had been hanging in the garage for months before he was moved to it.

About the incident, Trump wrote, “Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?”

Trump went on to rail NASCAR for its “politically correct” decision to ban Confederate flags from events.

Trump lampooned NASCAR for inciting its “lowest ratings EVER” because of the decision. Hours later, Trump made more callous comments, when he referenced recent announcements that the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland were considering changing their team names. Trump said American Indians “must be very angry.”

Later that same day, he attacked media outlets for their reporting on the coronavirus.”Deaths from the China Virus are down 39%, while our great testing program continues to lead the World, by FAR!” Trump wrote in a tweet that was untrue. “Why isn’t the Fake News reporting that Deaths are way down? It is only because they are, indeed, FAKE NEWS!”

While outlets like The New York Times recently reported that COVID-19 deaths in the United States are down to nearly 600 per day which is much better than the U.S.’s peak of 3,000 per day in April and May, Trump overlooked the fact that new infections continue to climb. According to CNN, “Public health experts say the increase in new cases and a simultaneous decrease in deaths and the death rate is likely a function of the virus infecting a higher percentage of younger people, who are less likely to be killed by COVID-19, improved disease treatment and expanded testing.”