José Antonio was 16 years old when he was killed by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on October 10, 2012. After 5 1/2 years, José Antonio’s family has courageously unmasked the culture of impunity of the US Border Patrol. At least 97 people have been killed by US Border Patrol agents in the last 15 years.
SOA Watch invites you to the webinar “Justice for José Antonio & all victims of Border Patrol violence” on Friday, May 25, at 8:00 pm ET. During this session we will talk about the solidarity movement that demands justice for José Antonio, for all victims of Border Patrol violence, and to stop the impunity that benefits Border Patrol violence.
For more information on José Antonio:
On the morning of May 11, Tucson federal prosecutors announced their decision to retry Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter for the murder of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez on October 10, 2012. Although on April 23, a jury in a federal courtroom in Arizona acquitted Swartz of second-degree murder, the retrial decision gives José Antonio, his family, and all the victims of Border Patrol violence one more opportunity to achieve justice and stop Border Patrol brutality. The retrial will start October 23, 2018.
The retrial of Lonnie Swartz gives prosecutors the opportunity to reframe the prosecution in accordance with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The retrial is also an opportunity to present evidence not included in the first trial to show that Border Patrol agent Swartz acted with undoubted recklessness in taking José Antonio’s life. Prosecutors decision to retrial Swartz is one step further to stop Border Patrol excessive use of force and their culture of impunity that has resulted in the killing of at least 97 people in the last 15 years.
SOA Watch is part of the coalition of international and national movements that has come together to demand justice for José Antonio, his family, and all the victims of Border Patrol violence. José Antonio was shot 16 times from the US side of the militarized border wall into Nogales, Sonora. His killing is the result of systematic impunity that profits from Border Patrol’s criminalization and annihilation of people of color inside and outside the United States.
José Antonio was 16 years old when he was killed by Lonnie Swartz. The ten shots that took José Antonio's life also took away the fear of his family. After five years and half, the Elena Rodríguez' family has courageously unmasked the culture of impunity of the US Border Patrol. The struggle of José Antonio’s family to keep his memory alive and seek justice reflects the struggle of so many families speaking truth to justice and breaking down the walls of impunity. The solidarity movement that helped make the retrial possible will not stop until there is justice made. You are part of this fight!
Guaranteeing justice for José Antonio is the beginning of guaranteeing justice for all the victims of Border Patrol violence and US militarization across the Americas.
*On Monday May 14, Israeli forces killed at least 55 Palestinians who were peacefully demonstrating against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Six children, two journalist and some elders are among the victims. Other 2,410 people were injured; 170 are in critical condition. This event has became the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war. The Israeli forces shot at the demonstrators from the Israeli side of the wall that separates them from Palestine. Today we demand justice for Palestinians!
On October 10, 2012, the Border Patrol agent Lonnie Ray Swartz shot José AntonioElena Rodríguez: 16 bullets in 34 seconds from the US side of the militarized border wall into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
On Monday, April 23, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez and his family were denied justice. A jury in a federal courtroom in Tucson, Arizona acquitted Border Patrol agent Lonnie Ray Swartz of second-degree murder and failed to reach a verdict for the lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The murder of JoséAntonio exposes a system of injustice that guarantees impunity for the murder, criminalization, and annihilation of people of color both inside and outside of the United States by the US Border Patrol.
The fight does not end here!
When SOA Watch moved the annual convergence at the gates of Fort Benning to the border, we made a commitment to stand up in active solidarity alongside communities that have been resisting the militarization of the borderlands. Today, more than ever, SOA Watch stands with José Antonio’s family and all victims of Border Patrol brutality, and their fight for justice. In the face of systematic impunity, we reaffirm our commitment to end US militarization and oppressive policies across the Americas. The struggle of JoséAntonio’s family to keep his memory alive and seek justice reflects the struggle of so many families speaking truth to justice and breaking down the walls of impunity.
Since 2010, 56 people have been killed directly by border patrol agents. Since 2010, there has been a 100% impunity rate for border patrol agents. "I have not found justice in this court or anywhere. What do I need to find justice? I came to support Araceli (JoséAntonio’s mother) to see if she found justice. I do not know what we need. Please help us. My son is Carlos Lamadrid and he is present!", said Guadalupe Guerrero after the verdict onJosé Antonio’s case was announced. Guadalupe is the mother of Carlos Lamadrid, who wasmurdered by border patrol agents in 2011, and member of the Border Patrol Victims Network.
Today we say enough!
After 5 and a half years, José Antonio's family not only brought Lonnie Ray Swartz to court; they courageously unmasked the culture of impunity of the US Border Patrol and its death apparatus. Today, we stand in solidarity with José Antonio’s family and we uplift the memory of all the direct and indirect victims of Border Patrol Brutality. Today, we need your support to continue our firm commitment to justice. You are part of this fight! Please continue to follow SOA Watch for updates. Please consider making a donation to support our work to make sure this case is not forgotten.
¡José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, presente!
Verdict In! Community Demands Justice for Murder of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez
Tucson, Arizona - A coalition of Human Rights organizations and the Arizona community will rally outside the Evo DeConcini Federal Courthouse (405 W Congress St) at 4 pm local time today to learn the verdict in the case against Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz, on trial for the murder of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez.
José Antonio Elena Rodríguez was shot from the United States into Mexico on October 10, 2012, by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz,
for allegedly throwing rocks at US border patrol agents. Swartz is being tried for second degree murder. This is one of the first times a Border Patrol agent faces a conviction for killing a civilian.
If you have any questions, or for more information, please contact Richard Boren of the Border Patrol Victims Network at 520-400-7625, or Marla Pacheco of Coalición de Derechos Humanos at 520-820-0135.