Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

Autopsy: Teen Shot in the Back By Border Patrol

The U.S. Border Patrol claimed that 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks over a border fence at U.S. agents when he was shot last October, but the autopsy tells a different story.

Bob Ortega reports:

An autopsy report raises new questions about the death of a Mexican youth shot by at least one U.S. Border Patrol officer four months ago in Nogales.

The Border Patrol has maintained that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, was throwing rocks over the border fence at agents on the U.S. side when an agent fired across the international border the night of Oct. 10.

But entry and exit wounds suggest that all but one of as many as 11 bullets that struck the boy entered from behind, according to the report by two medical examiners working for the Sonora Attorney General’s Office.

Those bullets also entered the boy’s body at a lower point on his frame than they exited, the report found.

“The only way I can fathom that report is that he was lying on his face when he was hit,” said Luis Parra, an attorney representing the Elena Rodriguez family. [Arizona Republic]

Border Patrol claimed the boy was hurtling rocks clear over the fence, but the boy was at street level and the top of the fence was at least 43 feet above him, so if he was throwing rocks over the fence, he wasn’t lying down at the time.

Nineteen people have been killed by Border Patrol agents since January 2010.