Taser: Death of a Mexican migrant after shot with Taser and hit with baton

Amnesty International is calling for restrictions on the use of Taser electro-shock weapons by USA border patrol’s police force following the death of Mexican national Anastasio Hernandez earlier this week.   

According to police sources, Anastasio Hernandez was detained on 28 May after re-entering the USA illegally through the US border with Mexico.

He had reportedly been deported two months earlier. Customs and Border Patrol police reportedly hit him with a baton and shocked him with a Taser when he became “combative” as they tried to deport him to Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing in California.   

Mr Hernandez reportedly stopped breathing shortly after being Tasered and was pronounced brain dead in hospital some 21 hours later. He was removed from the life support machine on Monday.

The San Diego medical examiner announced on Wednesday 2 June that he died of a heart attack, with signs of methamphetamine abuse and high blood pressure contributing factors; the manner of death was ruled a homicide.  The amount of methamphetamine in his system was not reported.

Amnesty International’s UK Arms Programme Director, Oliver Sprague said:

“The incident is still being investigated by the US authorities and so details of this case remain sketchy.  However Amnesty is concerned at the allegations that police resorted to unnecessary levels of force.

“There must be stricter regulations on the use of these electro-shock weapons. Tasers really should only be used by highly-trained officers and in very limited circumstances - as a weapon of last resort when lives are in danger.”

Since 2001, more than 400 people have died in the USA after being shocked with police Tasers. In many of the cases where Tasers have been cited as a cause or contributing factor to a death, the victim stopped breathing shortly after being shocked.

Amnesty International is calling for a full, impartial investigation into the death of Anastasio Hernandez, and for it to be made public as soon as possible.  The organisation is also calling for the US Customs and Border Protection agency to either suspend using Tasers or limit their use to situations where officers are faced with an immediate threat of death or serious injury that cannot be contained through lesser means.  

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