Destroying Our Protectors

It is hard to imagine a more threatening situation than putting a police officer in a prison with hardened criminals who have been put there by him or by other cops. Anyone who would support such an action would have to be a cop hater or someone too naïve to be in a position of authority.

The same logic applies to those who are assigned to guard the borders of our country. Hence, when Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were incarcerated with hundreds of illegal immigrant inmates, it was as if someone wanted to impose a death sentence. The execution was almost carried out against Mr. Ramos when he was brutally attacked after his photo appeared on an "America's Most Wanted" segment being viewed by a bunch of his fellow inmates. In that segment, Mr. Ramos was arresting some Mexicans who had entered illegally. That night, he was assaulted by several men who are serving time for the type of crimes that Mr. Ramos, a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, had been enforcing.

Now, why are Ramos and Compean in prison? Because they didn't properly report the facts of a border incident in which a known drug smuggler was shot by Ramos. That drug smuggler subsequently became the witness against them in return for a guarantee of immunity from prosecution on drug charges.

This tragedy began about a year and a half ago when Ramos and Compean were doing their job of trying to stem the continuous invasion of this country. Ramos had responded to a request for backup from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near along the Rio Grande River, several miles east of El Paso. Ramos tried to cut off the van, driven by illegal alien Osbaldo Davila of Mexico. Unable to outrun Ramos and another agent that took up the pursuit, Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and began running toward the river. At the other side of the levee he was met by Compean, who had anticipated the smuggler's attempt to get back across the border to Mexico.

What transpired shortly afterward is a bit murky, but it was stated that Davila continued running away. Ramos said he heard shots and saw fellow agent Compean on the ground. Then he saw Davila turn toward him, pointing what appeared to be a gun. Ramos fired his gun at Davila, but was unaware that the man was hit because he watched him continue running and jump into a waiting van and escape across the border. In the ensuing investigation, neither agent mentioned the shots that had been fired. The abandoned van, which was confiscated, contained 800 pounds of marijuana.

More than 2 weeks after the incident, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General received a call from a Border Patrol agent in Arizona. The agent's mother-in-law had received a call from Davila's mother in Mexico telling her that her son had been wounded in the buttocks in the shooting. The investigator made a call to the smuggler in Mexico and, before you can say, "Let's make a deal," the government of the US filed charges against the agents after giving full immunity to the drug smuggler and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

What in Heaven's name is going on in this country?

During the trial, an Assistant US Attorney told the court that the agents had violated an unarmed man's (Davila's) civil rights. How they could prove he was unarmed is beyond imagination since he left the scene and wasn't heard from until he became a witness against the men who had the duty of keeping him from being where he was in the first place.

Notwithstanding the ludicrous nature of having an illegal alien drug smuggler be responsible for putting 2 border patrol agents in prison, this case underscores the serious disconnect between those who face crime in the real world and those who read about it in the safety and security of a law library.

The imprisonment of these 2 men is more than a national disgrace, it's an example of a country that has lost its will to survive. When we put lawmen in prison based on the word of the lawless, how interested are the lawmen going to be in risking their lives for us? In essence, these 2 agents are in prison because they didn't follow procedure.

What people like the Asst. US Attorney will never understand is that it's a lot easier to follow procedure in the orderly, civilized and well-lit atmosphere of a courtroom than it is during a violent struggle against desperate people in the dark of night. If there ever were a valid reason for a presidential pardon, this case screams for it at 90 decibels, if only to prove that there is still some sanity left in this rapidly declining culture.

That is, unless the powers that be are waiting to issue it posthumously. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob
It is hard to imagine a more threatening situation than putting a police officer in a prison with hardened criminals who have been put there by him or by other cops. Anyone who would support such an action would have to be a cop hater or someone too naïve to be in a position of authority.

The same logic applies to those who are assigned to guard the borders of our country. Hence, when Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were incarcerated with hundreds of illegal immigrant inmates, it was as if someone wanted to impose a death sentence. The execution was almost carried out against Mr. Ramos when he was brutally attacked after his photo appeared on an "America's Most Wanted" segment being viewed by a bunch of his fellow inmates. In that segment, Mr. Ramos was arresting some Mexicans who had entered illegally. That night, he was assaulted by several men who are serving time for the type of crimes that Mr. Ramos, a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, had been enforcing.

Now, why are Ramos and Compean in prison? Because they didn't properly report the facts of a border incident in which a known drug smuggler was shot by Ramos. That drug smuggler subsequently became the witness against them in return for a guarantee of immunity from prosecution on drug charges.

This tragedy began about a year and a half ago when Ramos and Compean were doing their job of trying to stem the continuous invasion of this country. Ramos had responded to a request for backup from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near along the Rio Grande River, several miles east of El Paso. Ramos tried to cut off the van, driven by illegal alien Osbaldo Davila of Mexico. Unable to outrun Ramos and another agent that took up the pursuit, Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and began running toward the river. At the other side of the levee he was met by Compean, who had anticipated the smuggler's attempt to get back across the border to Mexico.

What transpired shortly afterward is a bit murky, but it was stated that Davila continued running away. Ramos said he heard shots and saw fellow agent Compean on the ground. Then he saw Davila turn toward him, pointing what appeared to be a gun. Ramos fired his gun at Davila, but was unaware that the man was hit because he watched him continue running and jump into a waiting van and escape across the border. In the ensuing investigation, neither agent mentioned the shots that had been fired. The abandoned van, which was confiscated, contained 800 pounds of marijuana.

More than 2 weeks after the incident, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General received a call from a Border Patrol agent in Arizona. The agent's mother-in-law had received a call from Davila's mother in Mexico telling her that her son had been wounded in the buttocks in the shooting. The investigator made a call to the smuggler in Mexico and, before you can say, "Let's make a deal," the government of the US filed charges against the agents after giving full immunity to the drug smuggler and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

What in Heaven's name is going on in this country?

During the trial, an Assistant US Attorney told the court that the agents had violated an unarmed man's (Davila's) civil rights. How they could prove he was unarmed is beyond imagination since he left the scene and wasn't heard from until he became a witness against the men who had the duty of keeping him from being where he was in the first place.

Notwithstanding the ludicrous nature of having an illegal alien drug smuggler be responsible for putting 2 border patrol agents in prison, this case underscores the serious disconnect between those who face crime in the real world and those who read about it in the safety and security of a law library.

The imprisonment of these 2 men is more than a national disgrace, it's an example of a country that has lost its will to survive. When we put lawmen in prison based on the word of the lawless, how interested are the lawmen going to be in risking their lives for us? In essence, these 2 agents are in prison because they didn't follow procedure.

What people like the Asst. US Attorney will never understand is that it's a lot easier to follow procedure in the orderly, civilized and well-lit atmosphere of a courtroom than it is during a violent struggle against desperate people in the dark of night. If there ever were a valid reason for a presidential pardon, this case screams for it at 90 decibels, if only to prove that there is still some sanity left in this rapidly declining culture.

That is, unless the powers that be are waiting to issue it posthumously. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob