A border agent tries to prevent Haitian migrants from reaching a makeshift camp near the Del Rio border crossing in Texas , in September 2021.
Mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents acted “unprofessionally” and “insultingly” to Haitian migrants attempting to enter the U.S. in September 2021, but did not hit them with their reins, according to an official investigation report made public on Friday.
The case had caused a stir in the country and beyond. Photos had shown mounted border guards pushing back migrants near Del Rio, Texas on the border with Mexico.
In one shot, an officer on horseback grabbed a man by his t-shirt. In another, he was holding a group at bay by twirling his reins in a threatening posture.
Despite initial appearances, after a careful review and analysis of videos, photos and eyewitness accounts, investigators found no evidence that the border guards involved hit migrants with their reins, intentionally or not, said Chris Magnus, the head of the border police, during a press conference, presenting the conclusions of the investigation.
However, an officer acted unprofessionally by shouting insulting and offensive comments regarding a migrant's origin, he added.
These images had angered President Biden and embarrassed his administration.
The same officer acted in a dangerous manner by forcing his horse to maneuver very close to a small child, he said again, citing several other failures .
Several agents thus tried to push the migrants back towards the river between Mexico and the United States, and the mounted units deployed had not been sufficiently trained and coordinates, he explained.
Disciplinary proceedings are underway, Magnus said.
President Joe Biden promised consequences for the police officers involved, calling their behavior outrageous and saying it was horrible […] to see people treated in this way.
At the time, thousands of migrants, the majority of them Haitians, had been camping in the area for several days in the hope of being admitted to the United States.