Who Will Watch the Watchers?

"The man in the video was a 37-year-old bricklayer named Guillermo Arévalo Pedraza.  He was shot in Nuevo Laredo on September 3, 2012, during a visit to the river with his wife, Nora Lam Gallegos; their two daughters, Mariana, who was nine, and Priscilla, who was ten; and several friends.  The shooting took place in a popular park called El Patinadero, where families come on weekends to swim, fish, and relax at the barbecue pits and picnic tables. ... The Border Patrol airboat appeared after Arévalo and his family had eaten and the party was winding down.  Interviews conducted by the Tamaulipas state police and depositions collected from witnesses by Lam’s American attorney all tell the same story about what happened next, during the missing portion of the video. ...  [T]he masked officer in the front of the boat suddenly dropped to one knee and fired his assault rifle at the crowd, hitting Arévalo in the thigh and the chest.  “They killed him! They killed him!” his wife screamed in Spanish.  His younger daughter, Mariana, had been standing next to him when he was shot, and she was in all likelihood the only person who reached him before he died.  She hugged him as he lay on his back, bleeding.  She was so covered with blood herself, her mother said later, that she looked like she too had been shot, as she easily could have been. ... [W]ho has heard of Guillermo Arévalo Pedraza?  Over a year and a half later, the answer to that question, at least in this country, is still “almost nobody.”  The Border Patrol has released no official report on the incident, not even so much as the name of the shooter.  Nor has there been any official announcement by federal investigators.  Contacted for this story in late March, an FBI spokesperson would say only that the agency had completed its investigation and turned its findings over to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.  In recent months, however, the Border Patrol’s use of force has come under heightened scrutiny both in Congress and in the national media, casting a new light on Arévalo’s shooting and others like it.  Border security, meanwhile, has once again become a buzzword in Washington, as a new immigration reform bill wends its way through Congress.  As some in Washington call for more agents in the field as a prerequisite to negotiation on any comprehensive reform measure, Arévalo’s case poses a troubling question: While agents watch the border, who is watching them?" - Nate Blakeslee, Texas Monthly, May 2014.