04/26/2018 - 10:39
The faculty and staff of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona join many in the Tucson community in expressing our support and admiration for the family of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was killed by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on October 10, 2012. Swartz fired 16 bullets from behind the border fence in the U.S., hitting unarmed José Antonio, who was on the Mexico side of the border fence. The bullets struck José Antonio eight times in the back and twice in the head.
On April 24, a jury acquitted Swartz on second-degree murder charges but deadlocked on lesser charges. Prosecutors must now decide whether to re-try Swartz on manslaughter charges.
It's understandable why this case has provoked deep reactions. We can only imagine what the reaction would be in the U.S. if a Mexican border guard killed a white child on the U.S. side of the line. Wearing a uniform must never be a shield from justice. We reiterate our firm support for justice and accountability along the border and our solidarity with communities on both sides of the border suffering the effects of ongoing border militarization.