Seven years ago, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was crossing the border from Mexico into San Diego — where he had lived for 25 years and raised five children.
But Hernandez Rojas would never see his kin again after that day, as he was tasered, beaten and eventually killed by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Now seven years later, an international body, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, has agreed to open a case against the U.S. government, for their complicity in the murder of the late father.
“This is the first time that the United States government is facing accusations in an international forum for an extrajudicial killing,” Christian Ramirez, the director of Southern Border Communities Coalition and human rights director of Alliance San Diego, told Democracy Now!. “The patience in the family has run out, and we (are) left with no other choice but to go to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
The Commission agreed to open the case after harrowing video footage showed how agents and cops tasered Hernandez Rojas, despite the Department of Justice announcing in 2015 there was not enough evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or other federal charges against the agents.
The video footage also revealed that Hernandez Rojas had begged and pleaded for help.
For Ramirez, the case being taken up by the Commission means a real shot at justice for Hernandez Rojas’ family.
“Despite the fact of a pattern, a long pattern, of abuse committed by U.S. Border Patrol … this is the first time, if we are fully successful in forcing the U.S. government to respond to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” he stated on Democracy Now!, “that this international body can provide guidance to the U.S. government to make sure that these sorts of violations never occur in our country, and to, in essence, shame the United States government for not following its obligations before the Organization of American States.”