SAN DIEGO (CN) - Two dozen Border Patrol agents beat a man to death at the San Ysidro Port of entry while onlookers screamed for them to stop, his family says in Federal Court.
"At one point, there were approximately 20 to 25 agents taking part in beating, kicking or punching Mr. [Anastacio] Hernandez-Rojas ..." the complaint states. "The beating continued for several minutes. At some point, federal officer Doe 3 pulled out a Taser and fired it at Mr. Hernandez-Rojas while he lay beaten on the ground. He discharged the Taser several times. Mr. Hernandez-Rojas stopped screaming after being Tased.
"Paramedics arrived on scene. By the time of their arrival Mr. Hernandez had not been breathing for at least 8 minutes. Mr. Hernandez-Rojas was transported to Sharp Chula Vista [hospital] and pronounced brain dead.
"The San Diego County Office of the Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was anoxic encephalopathy, caused by physical altercation with law enforcement. The Medical concluded the manner of death to be a homicide."
Hernandez-Rojas was detained at or around the Border Patrol's "Barracks Five" on May 28, 2010. Hernandez, 42, originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, had lived in San Diego County for 20 years with his common-law wife and their five children, according to the complaint. He was a construction worker.
After arresting him, a Border Patrol agent "in the presence of witnesses ... became angry and pushed Mr. Hernandez-Rojas against a wall, and spread his legs by kicking his ankles apart," the complaint states.
One of Hernandez's ankles was held together with surgical screws, and he "explained the injury to Doe 1, including that there were screws in the ankle and begged for Doe 1 to stop kicking his legs. He was weeping in pain."
But the Border Patrol denied him medical assistance and Doe 1, aided by another agent, Doe 2, "drove him to the San Ysidro Port of Entry," according to the complaint.
"At the Port of Entry, up to 20 to 25 federal agents beat Mr. Hernandez-Rojas while he lay helpless on the ground.
"Federal agents were on top of Mr. Hernandez-Rojas' back, stepping on the backs of his knees and punching his ribs. Bystanders screamed for the agents to 'stop beating him.'"
But the beating continued until Doe 3 Tasered him and he lay still, the complaint states.
His widow and five children seek punitive damages for wrongful death, assault and battery, civil and constitutional violations, and other charges. They are represented by Eugene Iredale and Guadalupe Valencia.