EL PASO -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas Border Rights Center filed a Public Information Act request with the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) requesting “any and all records depicting or reporting the vehicle chase conducted by Border Patrol agents on June 25, 2020 that culminated in a crash that killed seven people on Paisano Avenue.”
The local Border Patrol sector chief initially denied a pursuit had occurred in the aftermath of the crash -- only for her statement to be refuted by witnesses on the scene. As a response to Border Patrol’s secretive actions and lethal policies, the ACLU of Texas and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center urges the EPPD to make available all video and audio recordings related to the chase and crash.
“For too long, the Border Patrol has operated in the shadows and with impunity,” said Cynthia Pompa, the advocacy manager of the ACLU of Texas Border Rights Center. “These chases endanger our community, and in this latest tragedy seven people lost their lives, including four El Pasoans. The victims and families of the deceased, as well as the public, deserve an independent, robust and transparent investigation of Border Patrol’s involvement in this tragedy.”
This is not an isolated incident, and serious Border Patrol high-speed crashes have been documented throughout the country’s southern border. In January, Border Patrol was involved in another fatal crash on Paisano Drive. The latest crash on June 25 represents the deadliest one in recent El Paso memory.
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is representing one of the survivors of that chase, who sustained serious medical trauma in the crash.
“My client tells me he can’t sleep, he’s in severe pain and is haunted by nightmares of the crash,” said Linda Corchado, Director of Legal Services at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “Nevertheless, given his vulnerabilities, he’s been detained by ICE during a pandemic and interviewed four times about the incident by local investigators. The public deserves to know what happened to my client and the Police Department should release all recordings to the public.”
The ACLU of Texas is also encouraging El Pasoans to contact the police department and demand the release of video and audio related to the crash, sending a message using this form.