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. 

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Authorities Finally File Charges Against Teen Who Killed Monique Muñoz, Her Family Hopes He’s Tried As an Adult

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Authorities Finally File Charges Against Teen Who Killed Monique Muñoz, Her Family Hopes He’s Tried As an Adult

Credit: chulothelabel/Instagram
UPDATED: April 8th, 2021

Finally, Monique Muñoz’s family is getting closer to seeing justice. After over a month of rallying, gathering, and mourning, Muñoz’s family is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced that they had officially filed charges against the 17-year-old responsible for the deadly crash that killed Muñoz.

The charges against the unnamed teen came over a month after the fatal crash on February 17th. Because the teen is a juvenile, authorities are not releasing any more information detailing the specifics of the charges. Authorities originally arrested the teen on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Per ABC News, the teen’s arraignment is set for April 23rd. Up until this point, authorities never contacted Munoz’s family directly. The family was angry and frustrated at authorities for keeping them in the dark.

While it is progress that Los Angeles’s DA has finally charged the teen, the family wishes that authorities would try the 17-year-old as an adult.

“You’re a 17-year-old, driving an adult car, acting like an adult…you should be tried as an adult,” Munoz’s stepfather, Isaac Cardona, said to Good Morning America.

“[The DA] is really lenient on certain crimes, certain criminals, especially juveniles,” said Cardona to ABC 7. “And I’m like, you act like an adult you get treated like one.”

The unnamed teen was driving a Lamborghini Urus when he crashed into Munoz, who was making a left turn.

Photo via LAPD West Traffic

The Lamborghini Urus retails for $218,000. It can go 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds. Some experts estimate that the juvenile was going up to double the 35 mph speed limit in order to incur as much damage as he did.

Here’s to hoping that Los Angeles authorities will do the right thing in enacting justice for Monique Munoz and her family.

ORIGINAL BELOW: March 18th, 2021

Over the weekend, family and friends of Monique Muñoz, as well as members of the Los Angeles community, gathered to mourn the life of a young woman taking from this planet too soon.

The gathering of people became a memorial parade, with supporters showing up in classic cars or on foot. People were holding up signs that read: “Justice for Monique Muñoz” and “Olympic Blvd is NOT a race track”.

Muñoz’s family say they will gather at the site of Monique Muñoz’s death every weekend until the family sees justice.

As background, a 17-year-old driver killed 32-year-old Monique Muñoz while he was speeding in a Lamborghini in the Los Angeles streets. The teen was the son of a Beverly Hills millionaire James Khuri who gifted him the Lamborghini for his birthday.

In the aftermath of Muñoz’s death, James Khuri flooded his social media pages with insensitive pictures of himself looking happy and carefree while Muñoz’s family was grieving. After receiving a flood of negative comments condemning his insensitive behavior, Khuri simply turned off his comments

District Attorney George Gascón has not confirmed that he has brought charges against the teen. Muñoz’s family worried that Khuri would sweep Monique’s death “under the rug”.

While her family waited for justice, some savvy internet believed that James Khuri hired PR and marketing teams to bury negative articles about his son.

But Khuri didn’t get away with his attempts to control the press around his son’s involvement in M’s death. The internet rallied around Muñoz’s family, and soon the hashtag #JusticeForMoniqueMuñoz was trending.

Now, Muñoz’s family is focused on one goal. They want justice for their daughter.

“We have purpose. We have a direction. We have this responsibility to Monique to give her a voice, to speak for her, to give her justice and to just show her that we’re here for her,” said Stephanie Crespin, the victim’s cousin to ABC 7.

District Attorney George Gascón released the following statement to Inside Edition: “Monique’s death is a giant loss for her family, our community, and for all of us as Angelenos. This case was recently presented to our office and is under review. Juvenile court proceedings, records, and case files are confidential pursuant to Welfare & Institutions Code section 827. As such, we are unable to provide further information at this time.”

As for the belated apology that James Khuri wrote on his Instagram at the height of the backlash, Muñoz’s family says they see right through it.

“I’ve seen the interview of the father trying to apologize and give me his sympathy, but no, that’s too fake,” Carol Cardona told L.A. Taco. “He has yet to say anything to me, to us. If he were really sorry, he would have reached out when it all happened.”

And although Khuri’s lawyer previously claimed that Muñoz’s family was in the process of coming to a financial settlement with the Khuris, Carol Cardona put that rumor to rest.

Muñoz’s mother said that the family was not in the process of settling financially with the Khuri family.

“My daughter was killed, she was my everything, she was my best friend, and now she’s gone. Instead of planning her future wedding, I had to plan a funeral for her,” she said. “So no, no amount of money is going to bring my baby back.”

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

As we continue to learn more about the attack on Atlanta’s Asian-American community that left eight dead, we also are learning about Mario González – a survivor of the attack who was treated like a suspect by the Cherokee Sheriff Department.

Despite having lost his wife in the gunfire, police refused to share that news with González as he was handcuffed for hours amid the chaotic scene that was unfolding in the Atlanta suburbs.

A survivor of the Atlanta spa attacks says he was treated like a suspect instead of a victim.

The Latino man and husband who survived the Atlanta spa shootings that killed his wife says cops treated him like a suspect instead of a grieving victim — keeping him handcuffed for hours without telling him his spouse was dead.

“They had me at the police station for all that time until they investigated who was responsible or what had happened,” Mario González said during an interview with the Spanish-language news site Mundo Hispanico. “In the end, they told me my wife had died.

“They knew I was her husband,” Gonzalez said. “Then they told me she was dead when I wanted to know before. I don’t know, maybe because I’m Mexican,” he said. “Because the truth is that they treated me very badly.”

Law enforcement hasn’t responded to the allegations but are already facing severe backlash.

Representatives for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Sunday, but the accusations leveled by Mr. González come after the agency had already faced scrutiny after a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office described the gunman as having “a really bad day.”

The spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, was no longer the office’s public representative on the case, and the sheriff, Frank Reynolds, apologized and defended Captain Baker as not intending to disrespect the victims or their families. “We regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

González and his wife had been on a date night when the massacre took place.

The couple had arrived to Young’s Asian Massage for a fun date night, where they’d both enjoy a relaxing massage. They arrived shortly before the shooting started, Mr. González said in the video interview, and they were ushered into separate rooms for their massages.

Mr. González had met Ms. Yaun at a Waffle House restaurant, where he was a customer and she was a server. Ms. Yaun had been a single mother, raising a 13-year-old son. The couple married last year and had a daughter, who is now 8 months old. “What I need most right now is support,” Mr. González said in the interview.

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