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  • Anastasio Hernandez was beaten to death by 12 U.S. border agents in 2010

    Anastasio Hernandez was beaten to death by 12 U.S. border agents in 2010 | Photo: Hernandez Family

Published 4 March 2017
Opinion

The family of Anastasio Hernandez won a $1 million settlement, despite the fact that the 12 border agents who beat him to death were never charged.

On Thursday a judge in San Diego approved a US$1 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a Mexican migrant who was beaten to death by 12 border agents in 2010.

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"This agreement is not justice," Hernadez' wife, Maria Puga said at a news conference. "My husband's life does not have a price. The decision had to be taken and it was difficult. We had to turn the page."

She added one factor pushing her to settle was that, after seven years of fighting the U.S. government, it would only be more difficult to find justice under an increasingly vicious anti-migrant Trump administration.

Under the settlement, the money will be shared among Hernandez' five children.

The 42-year-old Hernandez — who had lived and worked in the U.S. without documentation since he was 15-years-old — was arrested while crossing back into the U.S. near the outskirts of San Diego.

Parts of his violent arrest was recorded by several bystanders and shows he was grabbed and repeatedly hit with batons, then held face down with an agent shoving his knee into his back.

"You're treating me like an animal," says Hernandez on the recording.

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As other agents arrived on the scene one shot Hernandez with a Taser while others held him face down on the ground, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hernandez soon stopped breathing and died in hospital two days later.

None of the 12 agents involved in the killing were ever charged, suspended, or even received a note in their employment file, noted Puga's lawyer.

"It's an embarrassment to continue to have the 12 agents working, the agents who killed my husband," Puga said.

Puga and several migrant rights activist have filed a complaint against the U.S. in the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights for failure to properly investigate and criminally prosecute the case. A judgment there is still pending.

The announcement of the settlement comes as reports emerged last week that the Trump administration is planning to hire some 15,000 additional agents to patrol the border region, raising even more concerns about border patrol violence which has already led to the deaths of thousands.

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