AZ border agent pleads guilty to intentionally running over migrant

dandyfopp

Arizona border agent pleads guilty to intentionally running over migrant near Nogales


https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/border-issues/2019/08/12/border-agent-matthew-bowen-pleads-guilty-running-over-migrant-near-nogales/1990284001/


TUCSON — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with running over a Guatemalan migrant along the Arizona-Mexico border and then lying about it has pleaded guilty and can face up to a year in prison, according to a deal with prosecutors.

Matthew Bowen, 39, a 10-year veteran agent stationed in Nogales, was scheduled to appear in Tucson federal court on Monday for the first day of his trial. But late last week, his attorney filed a motion saying they would accept a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The plea agreement is dated Aug. 8. but the court on Monday released details about the agreement with prosecutors.

Bowen agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for violating the rights of Antonin Lopez Aguilar, a 23-year-old migrant from Guatemala.

He acknowledged that he had intentionally ran over Lopez Aguilar on Dec. 3, 2017, whenas an agent, he had tried to detain him after entering the U.S. illegally near Nogales.

"During my apprehension of (Antonin Lopez Aguilar), I intentionally struck him with an unreasonable amount of force. My actions when I struck A.L.-A. were not justified and violated his rights protected by the Constitution of the United States," Bowen admitted, according to the document detailing the deal with prosecutors.


As part of the plea deal, Bowen also agreed to resign immediately from the Border Patrol. They had placed him on indefinite suspension without pay since his indictment in June 2018.

A Border Patrol spokesman declined to comment on the plea deal, but confirmed that Bowen submitted his resignation on Aug. 8.

Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss a charge against him for having lied about striking Lopez Aguilar in a report.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 15. Bowen faces up to $100,000 in fines, could spend up to a year in prison, and up to five years of probation.

Bowen's attorney, Sean Chapman, successfully defended another Arizona border agent facing charges in Tucson federal court. Both agents worked together and were stationed in Nogales.

Agent Lonnie Swartz was accused of shooting and killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez through the border fence in Nogales in 2012, after a botched smuggling attempt and a rock-throwing incident.

The first jury cleared Swartz of second-degree murder in an April 2018 trial. A second jury acquitted him of manslaughter charges in a retrial in November. A civil case is still making its way through court.

Court records show that Bowen texted Swartz in 2017 following a rock-throwing incident. He called the people throwing rocks "mindless murdering savages."


The plea deal allowed Bowen to avoid a jury trial. He acknowledged that U.S. prosecutors had enough evidence against him to secure a guilty verdict, including testimony from other agents who expressed their dismay over the December 2017 incident.

Court documents detailed that Bowen had prior accusations against him for using excessive force against migrants.

They included instances of him allegedly tackling a migrant after he had stopped running and pulling up a migrant from his handcuffs after he tripped and fell. He was admonished or verbally reprimanded both times by his supervisor.

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socks(10a)

He gets only a year for murdering someone?

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dandyfopp

The man he hit survived or else we probably wouldn't be hearing about this at all.


Matt Bowen sounds a lot like Donnie.



vvv

Border Patrol Agent Who Hit Migrant With Truck Pleads Guilty

Matthew Bowen, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, had sent a text message referring to immigrants as “subhuman” and “murdering savages,” according to court documents.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/us/matthew-bowen-border-patrol.html

  • Aug. 12, 2019

A Border Patrol agent who intentionally hit a Guatemalan migrant with his truck in Arizona in 2017 — and who had referred to immigrants in a text message as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages” — has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, according to a document filed in federal court on Monday.

The agent, Matthew Bowen, who was stationed in Nogales, will face up to one year in prison and could be fined $100,000 when he is sentenced on Oct. 15 for deprivation of rights under color of law, according to the plea agreement.

Mr. Bowen also said in the plea agreement that he would resign from the Border Patrol. He was suspended in June 2018, according to The Arizona Daily Star.

Mr. Bowen was indicted in May 2018 on the deprivation charge and another count charging him with lying to investigators.

The episode in question took place on Dec. 3, 2017. Court documents say that Mr. Bowen hit the migrant, Antolin Rolando Lopez-Aguilar, with his truck and nearly ran him over after Mr. Lopez-Aguilar appeared to be trying to cross into the United States illegally.

Mr. Lopez-Aguilar had abrasions on his right hand and both knees after being struck, the documents say. The same day, Mr. Lopez-Aguilar was charged with unlawful entry into the United States and transported to Tucson. It is unclear what happened to him after that.

“I intentionally struck him with an unreasonable amount of force,” Mr. Bowen said in the plea agreement.

He added that his actions “were not justified and violated his rights protected by the Constitution of the United States.”

The United States Attorney’s Office in Tucson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening. Efforts to reach Mr. Bowen and his lawyer, Sean C. Chapman, were also unsuccessful.

The case drew national attention after a series of racist and derogatory text messages exchanged between Mr. Bowen and other Border Patrol agents found by prosecutors on Mr. Bowen’s cellphone were included in the court filing.

Some of the messages reflected Mr. Bowen’s perception of immigrants, his political beliefs and his job dissatisfaction, according to court documents.

In a message sent to another Border Patrol agent more than two weeks before the episode, Mr. Bowen wrote, “PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!” and referred to immigrants as “mindless murdering savages,” “subhuman” and “unworthy of being kindling for a fire.”

Mr. Chapman, Mr. Bowen’s lawyer, said that more than 1,300 text messages, sent from November 2017 to March 2018, were extracted from Mr. Bowen’s phone. He argued that most of the messages were not relevant to the case and should not be included as evidence in the trial, according to a motion filed in April.

After review, the court decided to remove all messages sent before the date of the crime from evidence in the case. Senior Judge Cindy K Jorgenson of United States District Court in Arizona, ruled, however, that messages sent after that date that included racially offensive language or referred to Mr. Bowen’s job dissatisfaction were relevant to the case.

The day after the encounter, Mr. Bowen sent a message to another Border Patrol agent describing what happened: “I used an fl 50 to do a human pit maneuver on a guat running from an agent.”

He added, “just a little push with a ford bumper.”

Days later, he sent another message: “So im feeling the stress from this bs thinking about being taken away from my kid or something.”

A week after that, Mr. Bowen wrote: “guys are being made to think any use of force results in you being investigated.”

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Annie Deighnaugh

Of course socks...the right to life only exists from conception to birth and for American citizens...especially white ones. Anyone else? Not so much.

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leona_2008

I am glad to know he didn't kill him, but this light sentence is ridiculous. Even if that wasn't his intent, he risked someone's life. He was willing to take that life. And what does this say to the other border patrol agents who share his mindset? Go ahead and hurt these people. If you are charged, you will get a slap on the wrist.

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socks(10a)

Ok, sorry, I thought he died.

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dandyfopp

Not your fault socks, the first article was lacking.

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Delilah66

and his buddy Swartz?

Agent Lonnie Swartz was accused of shooting and killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez through the border fence in Nogales in 2012, after a botched smuggling attempt and a rock-throwing incident.

The first jury cleared Swartz of second-degree murder in an April 2018 trial. A second jury acquitted him of manslaughter charges in a retrial in November. A civil case is still making its way through court.”

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

In this case, the agent did kill the migrant. So why won't juries convict him?

I don't get it.

Kate

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Kathy

Sounds like another case of white privilege.

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patriciae_gw(07)

I was heartened to read that Bowen's co workers at the time ratted him out. They were dismayed at what he was doing. I take comfort where I can. There are decent Border Patrol.

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maifleur01

I was surprised that it was his co workers that ratted him out as it has been long known that even if you lived in the area near the border that if the patrol or one of the militias saw you that you would probably be chased even if they knew you were legally there. No one would ever admit that they had seen anyone killed as they could be next. Several years ago this was in the news.

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