, 30 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
“Dirtbag,” “Savages,” “Subhuman”: A Border Agent’s Hateful Career and the Crime That Finally Ended It propublica.org/article/border…
"Bowen was the subject of multiple internal investigations over excessive force during his 10-year career, court records show.
"In one, he’d been accused of giving a handcuffed suspect what agents called a 'rough ride,' slamming the brakes on his all-terrain vehicle in a way that flung the suspect into the ground.
"Bowen, though, had stayed on the job. And with the news of the Texas agent’s death, his disgust for illegal border-crossers seemed only to have deepened.

'Mindless murdering savages,' he texted to another agent that November.
"Two weeks later, Bowen climbed behind the wheel of a Border Patrol pickup truck and used it to strike a Guatemalan migrant in a dusty parking lot in southern Arizona.
"Bowen eventually was arrested by federal authorities in May 2018 and charged with using his Ford F-150 pickup, a 4,000-pound vehicle, to menace the man as he tried to flee Bowen and other agents on foot.
"The truck, according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors in court, hit the man twice and came within inches of running him over. Prosecutors accused Bowen of using 'deadly force against a person who was running away from him and posed no threat.'
"On Monday, after months of legal wrangling and on the eve of trial, Bowen pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor civil rights charge, an offense that carries a potential term of up to a year in jail.
"In his plea deal, Bowen admitted to hitting the man with his truck and promised to resign from the Border Patrol. Sentencing has been set for October.
"Bowen’s arrest and a variety of his ugly texts concerning migrants and others crossing the border illegally have been widely reported in recent months. But court documents and interviews suggest that his checkered career speaks to a much broader problem in the Border Patrol:
"... its inability or unwillingness to identify and discipline problem agents.0 led to “informal discipline” or no punishment at all."
"Bowen’s lack of regard for any oversight at the agency comes through in the texts obtained by prosecutors. The discipline process, he suggested, is little more than a system for supervising officials to cover their rear ends.
"Customs and Border Protection employees who reported their co-workers for excessive force or other wrongs were 'fags.'

'BP is just meant to destroy guys that want to catch people,' Bowen wrote in one text about his frustration with the agency.
"One of the supervisors who managed Bowen said the Border Patrol’s disciplinary system is largely punitive and only responds, when it does at all, to one incident at a time."
"While joking darkly about their jobs, the two once had shared a three-minute video of a Border Patrol agent pummeling an undocumented man, repeatedly smashing his skull against the steel beams of a border fence. 'Please let us take the gloves off trump,' Bowen texted.
"Lonnie Swartz, a Border Patrol agent, faced federal criminal charges over the killing of a Mexican teenager. His first trial ended with a jury acquitting him of murder charges but deadlocking on the lesser offense of manslaughter.
"The second resulted in Swartz’s acquittal on all charges.
Bowen’s Border Patrol buddy, it turns out, probably never should have been hired. In 1995, he had enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
"But, within weeks, he had gone AWOL and fled the base. Facing criminal charges under military law, Swartz lived on the lam for nearly two years before he was captured in Las Vegas by a joint task force of local police officers and FBI agents, federal court records indicate.
"He was eventually ousted from the Army with an 'other than honorable' discharge. Somehow, however, he made it through the agency’s background check process and was hired by the Border Patrol in 2009, a year after Bowen.
"Court records indicate that Swartz misled the background investigators about his violations of military law during the hiring process in 2009 and again during a second background check in 2014.
"The former Customs and Border Protection official said that the Army discharge issue should have kept Swartz out of the patrol. 'That’s just shoddy,' the person said. 'That should be an automatic disqualification. Whoever did the background investigation didn’t do their job.'"
"A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection would not comment on the circumstances surrounding Swartz’s hiring.
"In 2012, about two years after graduating from the Border Patrol academy, Swartz was the one facing federal criminal charges. Swartz had shot and killed a 16-year-old boy, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez...
"... during what he and other agents said was a dangerous encounter with rock-throwing Mexican nationals along the border fence. Charging Swartz with murder, federal prosecutors told a very different story.
They said that in reality Swartz was in no danger of being struck by a stone when he opened fire and shot the teen 10 times — two bullets hit the youth in the head, the others in the back.
"Rather, the prosecutors argued, Swartz killed the boy because he was 'fed up' after a series of clashes with migrants and other border-crossers. Whether or not the boy threw rocks that night, prosecutors said, 'it wasn’t a capital offense. He did not deserve to be executed.'
"The shooting prompted a long and unusual series of events. For three years, the Border Patrol would not make public the name of the agent who had shot the boy, including to the boy’s family.
"It was only after the family filed suit against the agency that the federal authorities brought criminal charges against Swartz. His first trial ended with a jury acquitting him of murder charges but deadlocking on the lesser offense of manslaughter.
"The second, coming near the end of 2018, resulted in Swartz’s acquittal on all charges. The second jury had repeatedly told the judge it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, and it only wound up acquitting when the judge ordered the jurors to keep trying."
"The Border Patrol would not say if Swartz still works for the agency in any capacity."
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Pedro Nicolaci da Costa
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!