The U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has determined the horse-mounted Border Patrol agents who confronted Haitian families last September along the riverbanks in Del Rio, Texas, did not strike migrants with their reins, according to an internal report released Friday, and made public through The Washington Post.
However, the OPR report also says the agents still acted inappropriately and lacked proper guidance from supervisors.
Last fall, widely circulated images of the incident apparently showed agents of the Del Rio Sector Horse Patrol Unit swinging reins briefly, while trying to block families bringing food to a camp where roughly 15,000 migrants arrived requesting entry into the United States.
The photos and videos of the confrontation fueled some national outrage, at least from those who maintained the horseback Border Patrol agents were "whipping" the migrants.
President Joe Biden expressed his initial dissatisfaction with the images last fall, promising the agents would "pay" for their actions.
In April, however, Breitbart News reported the Department of Homeland Security had plans of clearing the Del Rio Sector horse patrol of any wrongdoing.
But that might not be the case now, citing the Post's reporting, in terms of the agents being completely absolved.
The Office of Professional Responsibility at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which functions as the agency's internal affairs division, assessed in a 511-page report that no migrants were struck or denied their legal right to seek asylum in the United States.
However, the OPR says the agents behaved improperly during that incident. For example, according to the Post, the agents' decision to assist Texas state troopers attempting to block the migrants was not in line with Border Patrol objectives.
The internal report found "failures at multiple levels of the agency, a lack of appropriate policies and training, and unprofessional and dangerous behavior by several individual agents," the CBP said in a statement, via the Post.
According to Breitbart, the border agents were first accused of improper conduct on September 19, 2021.
Freelance journalist Paul Ratje shot the original video and took photographs of what occurred, with one particular photo giving the appearance of a horse-mounted border agent whipping migrants.
Experienced horse riders quickly took to Twitter then, however, saying the agents were simply using horse reins — typically used to steer a horse's movement — and not whips designed to injure or intimidate migrants.
According to Breitbart, Ratje has denied seeing any agents using whips.
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