Parents of Slain Mexican Boy Sue Border Patrol

Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca's parents accuse officers of brutality.

By Julianne Hing Jan 18, 2011

The parents of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, a 15-year-old Mexican teen gunned down last year at the El Paso-Juarez border, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over their son’s death.

The boy’s family has asked for $25 million for the law enforcement officer’s "brutality", and according to a Reuters report, names the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the agent as defendants. The family also hopes that the lawsuit could lead to criminal charges for the Border Patrol officer.

At the time of the shooting, there were conflicting reports about what exactly happened when the still unnamed Border Patrol agent killed Huereca that to this day remain unresolved. There was a scuffle at the border underneath an international bridge involving a Border Patrol officer, rocks were certainly involved, but the exact timeline is still disputed.

But almost immediately, the FBI seemed to have decided which narrative to back. The day the shooting was announced the FBI released a statement calling the shooting the result of an "assault" on the Border Patrol officer. Hernandez and other boys he was with were reportedly throwing rocks at the agent after being caught trying to help migrants cross into the U.S. The president of the Border Patrol officers’ union said that rock-throwing was a "deadly force encounter" that justified the use of deadly force in return.

Univision obtained video that showed the Border Patrol agent drawing his gun and shooting while he chased the boys from the U.S. side of the border into Mexico, where Hernandez was killed after being shot in the eye. Since the shooting, Border Patrol has countered that Hernandez was a known smuggler who worked with coyotes to sneak people into the United States. Whether or not the Border Patrol officer knew this at the time he killed Hernandez–and if it’s enough to justify the officer’s actions–hasn’t been made public. The DOJ opened a civil rights investigation into Huereca’s death that is still ongoing.