Photographer who snapped border agents on horseback says images can be 'misconstrued'
A New Mexico man, whose photos show customs and border protection agents bringing Haitian migrants together on horseback, said the photos “could be misinterpreted” to show agents beating them.
Paul Ratje's footage shows agents riding alongside fleeing migrants near the border in Del Rio, Texas, with the reins suspended, inciting anger among many Democrats and others who accused the CBP of whipping them. A number of law enforcement officers firmly denied the allegations, and Ratje said the officers' conclusions differed from those he had seen.
"Some of the Haitian men started running and tried to avoid the horses," Ratje told NBC subsidiary KTSM.
"I've never seen them whip anyone," he said. "He swung it, but it can be misinterpreted from looking at the picture."
SHEILA JACKSON LEE: THE GREAT BORDER IS "WELL PROTECTED" AND HAITIAN MIGRANTS NEED "NEW PROTOCOL"
Numerous Democrats were angry about the actions of the border guards, including Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
"That is not what our guidelines and training require ... We will not tolerate abuse," Mayorkas said.
Democratic MP Maxine Waters called the treatment of migrants "worse than slavery" while President Joe Biden said the riding agents would "pay".
“There will be consequences. It's embarrassing, "said Biden on Friday. "But it's not just embarrassing, it's dangerous. It's wrong."
A senior federal law enforcement agency denied the Democrats 'characterization of the agents' actions, telling the Washington Examiner that the officers were conducting a "whirl of reins" to keep people off horses for their safety and that no one was whipped.
"If they get too close to the horses, the horses could step on them and break their bones. You could kick them. They could be kicked in the head. It could be fatal," said Brandon Judd, a border guard and the President of the National Border Guard Council.
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The White House quickly condemned the strategy after the photos surfaced and opened an investigation. Since then, officials have banned border officials from using horses.
Haitians were among the thousands of migrants who camped under a bridge near Del Rio. The Biden administration set Friday evening as the deadline for clearing the camp.
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Tags: News, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Border Crisis, Border Security, Haiti, Customs and Border Protection, Media
Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original location: photographer who snapped border officials on horseback says pictures can be "misinterpreted"
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