Texas Law Firm Brings Change to "Shoot to Kill" Policy

Mar 08, 2014, 17:30 ET from Hilliard Munoz Gonzalez LLP

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, March 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Three Hilliard Munoz Gonzalez LLP (HMG) lawsuits are credited with pressuring the United States Border Patrol to change its "rocking policy," which heretofore had authorized Border Patrol agents to use deadly force against unarmed Mexican citizens.

On Friday March 7, 2014 Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher reversed the policy, directing his agents to take cover from rock-throwers rather than retaliating with gunfire.  The Border Patrol's own study found that its agents were deliberately placing themselves in harm's way to justify shooting.

"This is a 180-degree change of a deeply flawed policy that resulted in many needless deaths."  — Robert Hilliard, partner, HMG


The Yanez Case
June 21, 2011 Jesus Yanez Reyes illegally crossed into California at the US/Mexico border near Tijuana.  Spotted by the Border Patrol, he crossed back to the Mexican side of the border and allegedly threw two rocks and a board, none of which injured the two border agents on the scene.  One of the agents drew his pistol and fatally shot Yanez in the head. HMG has brought suit against the Border Patrol on behalf of Yanez's survivors, his wife and son.

The Hernandez Case
June 7, 2010 fifteen-year-old Sergio Hernandez Guereca was with friends at the border fence in El Paso, Texas.  The boys were running to fence, touching it and then running back... playing a game of boyish "dare." A U.S. Border Patrol agent suddenly arrived and took one of the boys into custody.  Sergio stood on the Mexican side of the border, unarmed and quietly observing.  The agent then took careful aim with his sidearm and, shooting across the border, hit Sergio in the face, killing him.  The initial Border Patrol report claimed that the boy was throwing rocks.  HMG has brought suit against the Border Patrol on behalf of Sergio's parents.  Currently pending in front of the 5th circuit Court of Appeals

The Pedraza Case
September 3, 2012 Guillermo Pedraza was at a riverside park on the Mexican side of the border, near Laredo, Texas.  He was barbecuing with his family.  On the US side, US border agents in an airboat were circling a swimmer, who was struggling to stay afloat.  Pedraza and others in Mexico shouted at the agents to stop trying to drown the swimmer.  Agents responded by firing six shots from AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.  Pedraza was hit in the chest and leg and fell to the ground in front of his young daughter.  He died about an hour later in the hospital. The initial Border Patrol report claimed that the crowd was throwing rocks.  HMG has brought suit against the Border Patrol on behalf of Pedraza's family.

Bob Hilliard, partner at Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP, and lead counsel on the cases against the Border Patrol, said, "It is my hope that this long-overdue policy change puts an end to years of aggressive action by border patrol agents. Under the previous policy, a child with a pebble-size rock could be executed under 'color of policy.' The reckless and mindless defense of the 'shoot to kill' system is now over, but we will continue to fight for justice for the victims of that deadly policy."

"This change is precisely what we told them (the Border Patrol) to do in the Yanez lawsuit. It is what the government of Mexico had been imploring the US government to do for some time."

Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP (HMG) specializes in mass torts, personal injury, product liability, commercial and business litigation, and wrongful death. The firm has won approximately $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for its clients.  Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP has been successfully representing clients in the United States and Mexico since 1986. 

HMG is actively seeking to represent other victims of US Border Patrol aggression.

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SOURCE Hilliard Munoz Gonzalez LLP