Did border agents use excessive force in a deadly effort to clamp down on immigration? That’s the question that will be posed tonight on PBS when “Need to Know” premieres its investigation into the violent death of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, a 42-year-old immigrant who beaten and tasered by San Diego-area border agents in 2010. Hernandez-Rojas later was taken to a local hospital where he lated died of his injuries.
The death has resurfaced into the public spotlight now that shocking new video of the beating has emerged. On the tape, more than a dozen border agents can be seen standing over Hernandez-Rojas as the man pleads for his life, yelling, “¡Nooo! ¡Nooo! ¡Déjenme! [Leave me alone!] ¡Nooo! ¡Señores!”
The new evidence has outraged human rights advocates.
“This shocking new footage of the death of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas raises serious questions about the disturbing pattern of violence, death and, possibly, murder at the hands of the Border Patrol,” said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org. “Equally disturbing is Obama Administration Justice Department’s inability to seriously investigate these deaths.
Carmona’s organization Presente.org has gathered over 17,000 signatures on a petition demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder launch an investigation into the case.
“Anastasio’s death, and the deaths of 7 others held by the U.S. Border Patrol, make clear that the largest law-enforcement agency in the country is abusing and even killing citizens and non-citizens with virtual impunity,” said Christian Ramirez, Executive Director of Equality San Diego, sponsors of the Bring Justice Home campaign. Equality San Diego has been working closely with Hernandez-Rojas’s widow to bring attention to the case.
The PBS investigation is being conducted in partnership with The Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute and will air tonight. Check your local listings for exact times.