A Department of Homeland Security investigation into Del Rio Sector Horse Patrol Unit agents determined no wrongdoing occurred. The results came six months after DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised a speedy investigation into the agents wrongly accused of whipping migrants. A source close to the investigation informed Breitbart Texas the Border Patrol expects the official report of findings to be delivered shortly.
Secretary Mayorkas initially promised the investigation would be completed in “days, not weeks.” The investigation dragged on and although the Border Patrol has been informed of the findings, the official results have yet to be delivered, according to a source operating under U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the interim, the Border Patrol agents wrongly accused remain on administrative duties.
The allegations against the agents occurred on September 19, 2021, near a makeshift outdoor encampment holding roughly 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants at the time. Video and photographs taken by freelance journalist Paul Ratje were widely circulated and sparked initial claims that agents were “whipping” migrants.
Further examination led many to concede the images showed Border Patrol agents using long reins to control the horses. The photographer who captured the incident also denied witnessing the agents’ using whips.
In a subsequent news interview, Ratje told a reporter, “I’ve never seen them whip anyone.” Ratje added, “He was swinging [the reins], but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
The agents have not been performing law enforcement duties and have not been allowed to have contact with migrants since September. The restrictions placed on the agents, according to the source, will continue until the official findings are received by Border Patrol officials.
The Border Patrol agents accused in the investigation faced harsh criticism in a rush to judgment from the highest levels not only at DHS but from the White House as well.
President Biden issued comments during a September 2021 media event condemning the actions saying, “It was horrible what you saw, to see people treated like they did, horses run them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous.” The President further emphasized his quick-to-judge assessment saying, “I promise you, those people will pay”.
In November, the agency’s Office of the Inspector General failed to find sufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing and referred the investigation to the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). OPR was then charged to determine if any administrative policy infractions occurred during the incident.
The source, not authorized to speak to the media, told Breitbart Texas the delays in the investigation may have more to do with avoiding the political fallout of such a quick rush to judgment than the time it took multiple investigative agencies to analyze the evidence and reach a conclusion.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.