Family Demands Answers in Man’s Fatal Border Beating

The family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, killed four years ago, declared Wednesday “Rojas Day of Action”

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who was killed following a brutal encounter with Border Patrol agents in 2010, is still looking for answers. NBC 7’s Steven Luke reports on their day of action. (Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Four years may have passed, but the family of a man killed in 2010 following a brutal encounter with Border Patrol agents continues to seek answers – and justice.

    Anastasio Hernandez Rojas died in May 2010 and to this day remains a central player in the broader allegations of Border Patrol brutality and excessive use of force.

    Video May Be Key in Immigrant's Death Case

    [DGO] Video May Be Key in Immigrant's Death Case
    Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, 42, died after being shocked by government agents and officials. The lawyers in a wrongful death suit carried out by his family now say a video may shed new light in the case. Rory Devine reports. (Published Friday, Aug 12, 2011)

    Viewers may recall the video taken by witnesses at the San Ysidro Port of Entry that shows the violence against Rojas. Today, it is the central piece of evidence in an investigation still unresolved four years later.

    In the video, Rojas can be seen in handcuffs and on the ground, still being tased by agents. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, but also said Rojas had methamphetamine in his system and had a heart attack.

    Caught on Camera: Border Struggle

    [DGO] Caught on Camera: Border Struggle
    A video appears to show a portion of the confrontation that led to the death of an illegal immigrant May 29 at the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing. Humberto Navarrete captured the grainy and dark video on his cellphone. In it Navarrete said Anastasio Hernandez Rojas yelled for help as U.S. Border Patrol agents attempt to subdue him. (Published Thursday, Jun 10, 2010)

    The Border Patrol said Rojas was uncooperative and defiant as agents took him to the border for deportation and the use of force was justified.

    Still, that explanation isn’t enough for those who loved Rojas.

    With the help of groups advocating immigration reform, the family is calling for the government to release its findings following the investigation into the 2010 incident. Beside the report, the family also wants better job training for agents on use of force and the use of body cameras worn by all Border Patrol agents.

    On Wednesday, dozens of people who feel Rojas was murdered that night gathered for the “Rojas Day of Action,” greeting incoming travelers at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro and asking them to support their call for action.

    Wearing orange vests, members of the group held up signs that read, in both English and Spanish, phrases like “Control the Border Patrol,” “Border Reality Checkpoint,” and “Know Your Rights.” They also held posters with Rojas’ photo.

    Rojas mother, Luz Rojas, spoke in Spanish about her heartache. Rojas’ widow, Maria Puga, was also there.

    “We will continue to push to ensure our government holds the largest law enforcement agency accountable for their actions and if there was any wrong doing for the agents involved, that they be brought to justice,” said Christian Ramirez of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

    Through events like this, Rojas’ family and their supporters aim to inform those who live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border about current border policies and issues that could have direct implications on their communities.

    At Wednesday’s gathering, the group also asked residents to take action by signing a postcard that will be delivered to the White House.

    Rojas’ family, friends and the community groups supporting them also planned to hold a vigil and rally for Rojas at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego.
     

    Follow NBC 7 for the latest news, weather, and events: iPad App | iPhone App | Android App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts