The latest killing of a Mexican national by the U.S. Border Patrol sparked a public protest during the boy's funeral this weekend.
José Antonio Elena Rodríguez’s family and friends carried his casket toward the border fence separating Nogales, Mexico from the Arizona city that shares it's name, as U.S. police and Border Patrol agents looked on from the other side, according to a report from local paper El Diario de Sonora. About 200 people attended the Sunday service.
One young man flipped off U.S. Border Patrol agents, while a woman yelled “¡Chinga tu madre!” -- an obscenity -- El Diario reports.
The tense atmosphere at Elena Rodríguez’s funeral highlighted simmering anger along the border with Mexico, where U.S. agents have used force in three violent confrontations since last month.
Border Patrol agents fired a total of 14 shot at Elena Rodríguez last week, hitting him seven times, a spokesman for the human rights commission of Sonora, Alberto José Rodríguez told The Los Angeles Times. A nearby house was hit by bullets five times, according to El Diario.
The agents say Elena Rodríguez, 16, was smuggling drugs with another person. The two unloaded packages containing marijuana, according to the Border Patrol. When agents arrived on the scene, the alleged drug smuggling duo began throwing rocks.
Mexican authorities said Monday that Elena Rodríguez’s family plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Border Patrol for excessive use of force, according to Reuters.
The Border Patrol may use force to protect itself in cases where rocks are being thrown and their lives are in danger, according to the Associated Press. But the Patrol faces growing criticism for using lethal force in these situations, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Fifteen civilians have been killed by the Border Patrol since 2010, The Los Angeles Times reports. At least three of them were Mexican nationals killed in incidents involving rock throwing, according to the Daily Beast.