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U.S. Supreme Court weighs case of Mexican teen killed Border Patrol agent

February 21, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. Supreme Court weighs case of Mexican teen killed Border Patrol agent

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Sixty feet and the U.S-Mexico border separated Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, an unarmed 15-year-old Mexican boy and the U.S. Border Patrol agent who fatally shot him with a bullet back in June 2010.

U.S. officials decided not to prosecute Agent Jesus Mesa Jr., and the Obama Administration denied a petition to extradite him so that he could face charges in Mexico.

Although the parents of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca attempted to sue Mesa in a U.S. court for infringing on their son’s rights, federal judges rejected their arguments.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is hearing the parents’ appeal, which their attorneys say is their last hope for some justice.

Mexican forensic experts examine the body of 14-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, under the Paso Del Norte border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, Monday, June 7, 2010. Photo AP

Exactly what occurred in the cement culvert that separates El Paso, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is unclear.

Sergio’s relatives said that he was messing around with friends that day, playing a game in which they ran down the culvert from the Mexican side to the American side to hit an 18-foot fence.

Mesa came on a bicycle and arrested one person while the others hurried back across the culvert.

He then shot Sergio as he fled toward a pillar holding up an overhead railway bridge. Mesa and other agents who arrived on the scene left on their bikes, without checking on the child or offering medical assistance.

Portraits of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15 year – old who was killed in a cross-border shooting

The Justice Department stated Mesa was attempted to stop “smugglers attempting an illegal crossing” and opened fire after he came under a bombardment of rocks. Mesa argued in his court filings that Sergio was among one of those throwing rocks.

However, Robert Hilliard, the family’s attorney, said that U.S. officials met alone with the parents to explain the choice not to prosecute Mesa and told them that their son did not throw any rocks. A phone video shows that Sergio was fleeing and trying to hide before he was killed.

If Sergio was shot a few feet north, he would have been on American soil, and U.S. courts would be open to his family, according to Hilliard.

If the family remains out of court, Hilliard said, the Supreme Court will be saying “that 100% of the conduct of a domestic officer in the U.S. is unconstrained by the Constitution.” The family is seeking $10 million

The Trump administration, like its predecessor, contended that the location of Hernandez’s killing, in Mexico, should be the end of the story, The Associated Press reported.

Family and friends gather around the body of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was killed on June 7th, 2010 by a Border Patrol agent.

The ability to sue “should not be extended to aliens injured abroad,” the government revealed in its court documents. Additionally, the government said the parents’ claims under the Fourth Amendment should be dropped because its protections against search and seizure do not apply to non-citizens outside of the U.S.

The government also noted that Mesa should be shielded from liability for the incident, even if the family could prove that he violated other rights.

Sergio’s killing was not an isolated episode. The parents of a teen murdered in Nogales from gunshots fired across the border by a U.S. agent, have filed a civil rights suit that is delayed until the Supreme Court makes a ruling.

The government’s response to that situation was important because prosecutors are pursuing second-degree murder charges against Agent Lonnie Swartz.

In that incident, 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot about ten times from Arizona. The Border Patrol has said Swartz was protecting himself against rock-throwers.

The boy’s relatives said that he was not involved and was walking home after playing basketball. Swartz is on leave and his trial is scheduled for June.

A 2013 report requested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and written by an outside group criticized the agency for inadequately investigating the 67 shootings that occurred from 2010 to 2012 and questioned the use of force in some of those cases. The agency has said it has toughened its policies, especially in response to rock-throwers.

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