Alleged victims of U.S. border agents appear in court, hold news - Tucson News Now

Alleged victims of U.S. border agents appear in court, hold news conference

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - No charges will be filed against two people arrested after a vigil at the border at Nogales in May.

A third says he wants to be tried.

The three people were in federal court in Tucson on Wednesday. They're with a group called the Border Patrol Victims Network, and they say they were arrested when they tried to file a complaint about abuse by a Customs and Border Protection agent.

After their initial appearances, Shena Gutierrez and Sarah Roberts paid a court fee and will not be charged.

Gutierrez' lawyer says it's not an admission of guilt.

The third person cited, Richard Boren, says he wants a trial. He says it's the only way to find out which agent "physically and verbally abused" Gutierrez at the border.

Gutierrez and Boren held a news conference, Wednesday, outside the federal courthouse in Tucson. They had dozens of supporters with them. They carried a large banner they said had the faces and names of people killed by Border Patrol Agents.

The group says there is no accountability or transparency after border agents are accused of violence and of using excessive force.

However, part way through the news conference, a federal officer told everyone, including the news media, that they had to leave the federal courthouse property because they did not have a permit.

Gutierrez' lawyer, Vince Rabago, questioned the demand.

The following is part of the conversation between the officer and Rabago:

Federal Officer: "It needs to be advised and authorized."

Rabago: "I've seen it happen all the time. This is the first-- I've been probably at five press conferences out here. No permit. Not once, 'til now do I see this happening."

Federal Officer: "I'm going to ask you all please to leave off the property."

The news conference moved to the sidewalk where Rabago explained Gutierrez' ultimate goal is to get the name of the border agent, he claims, had harassed and bruised her at the border at Nogales in May.

"As a former prosecutor I'll be the first to stand up for law enforcement, but not when it comes to bad apples. Not when it comes to people that are harassing citizens or non-citizens," Rabago said.

Rabago says Gutierrez, had been in Nogales at a peaceful vigil for alleged victims of Border Patrol violence.

Rabago says Gutierrez was arrested when she demanded to know who had harassed and abused her that day.

Gutierrez held up pictures of her husband in a hospital bed.

His eyes were black and swollen. His scalp had long rows of sutures.

She alleges he was nearly beaten to death by border agents in San Luis, Arizona, in 2011.

She says she has discovered 11 agents were allegedly involved, but she has yet to be told who they are.

Gutierrez says she has no idea if the agents were investigated or held accountable.

After the incident, Gutierrez became a founding member of the Border Patrol Victims Network.

She says she wants justice for all the victims, including her husband.

"My husband's case, nobody deserves this to happen to them. Brain surgeries, having their skulls removed. Now he lives with a seizure disorder amongst many other issues. So I mean I want justice in this case. I want there to be accountability," Gutierrez says.

Richard Boren also was among the speakers at the news conference.

"This culture of impunity is from all levels, from the Border Patrol, Homeland Security, CBP, the Justice Department. It's all throughout the whole system," Boren said.

After the news conference some members of the Border Patrol Victims Network, including Boren, took a letter to the Border Patrol office in midtown Tucson.

The letter requests names of agents involved in Gutierrez' case and in others so those who wish may file formal complaints against them.

The letter also explains that the names are necessary for "ongoing litigation" in the cases.

Three individuals from the Border Patrol office went outside to meet the group.

Boren told them, "I just wanted to make sure I hand-delivered it to make sure it got in the right hands."

A Border Patrol spokesman took the letter and said, "Sure. Not a problem."

Regarding the officer who forced the news media and the group holding the news conference to leave the federal courthouse grounds, later in the day, we were told he was the same federal officer who cited the Border Patrol Victims Network members at the border back in May.

At the top of Richard Boren's citation, is the name of the officer, "Orozco."

Defense attorney Vince Rabago told us Officer Orozco had been court earlier in the day for the initial court appearance of his client and the others.

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