Customs and Border Patrol agents used pepper balls to push Venezuelan migrants back into Mexico after an agent was struck with a flagpole.
A group of migrants attempted to cross the Rio Grande International Boundary into the U.S. at around 12:20 p.m. Monday. One of the protesting migrants was hoisting a large Venezuelan flag.
When that migrant struck an agent with the flagpole, CBP officers dispersed the crowd back over the border into Mexico with pepper balls.
“One of the protesters assaulted an agent with a flag pole, at which time agents responded by initiating crowd control measures. These measures included the use of the authorized less-lethal force pepperball launching system,” a CBP spokesperson told Fox News.
Video of the incident was posted on Twitter alleging that CBP agents used rubber bullets on the migrant throng.
The National Border Patrol Council quote-tweeted the video, and offered a correction.
“Fake news: They were NOT firing ‘rubber bullets.’ And the video clip doesn’t show what happened prior … the crowd throwing rocks at agents. Agents were using pepper ball launchers which are designed to disperse large crowds of unruly people,” the union tweeted.
CBP spokesperson Landon Hutchens corroborated the rock throwing to the El Paso Times, noting that, after the flagbearer went after one agent, a “second subject threw a rock, causing injury to an agent at which time agents responded by initiating crowd control measures.”
Pro-immigration activists were swift to condemn the video.
“We are absolutely appalled by this video. People with the incredible courage to seek a better life deserve to be met with dignity,” wrote the Texas Civil Rights Project, quote-tweeting the video posted of the incident.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.
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