A jury has acquitted a San Diego Sector Border Patrol agent accused of beating and choking a Mexican immigrant.
Federal prosecutors had charged Agent Luis Fonseca with deprivation of rights under color of law.
They said he used excessive force on an immigrant who had been arrested trying to cross the border illegally. The prosecutors accused Fonseca of approaching the man while he was being processed at a Border Patrol station, kneeing and then choking him until he lost consciousness.
They presented video of the incident during this week’s trial, but Fonseca’s attorney said the video did not tell the whole story. He said his client acted as he’d been trained to in order to get the immigrant, Adolfo Ceja, to follow basic orders to keep his hands on the wall.
Fonseca’s prosecution was the first time in at least a decade that a Border Patrol agent has been charged for abusing immigrants. The not-guilty verdict Friday came just a day after closing arguments in the trial.