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After Outcry, Photographer Says He Saw No Violence

Biden joins outcry at mounted agents' conduct, promising consequences
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2021 5:30 PM CDT
After Outcry, Photographer Says He Saw No Violence
FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2021, file photo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acu?a, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas. The Border Patrol's treatment of Haitian migrants, they say, is just the latest in a long history of...   (AP Photo/Felix Marquez, File)

(Newser) – The people who have responded with horror to images of Border Patrol agents on horseback appearing to corral Haitian immigrants at the Rio Grande include the US president and vice president. Some of the photos seem to show agents using whips, KTSM reports. But that's not quite what the photographer who took many of them said he saw happening in Del Rio, Texas. "I've never seen them whip anyone," Paul Ratje said. Still, an investigation has begun, per CNN, and the Department of Homeland Security has temporarily called off the horse patrol.

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"It's horrible what you saw," President Biden said Friday at the White House. "To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it's outrageous." He added, "There will be consequences." Harris also has expressed outrage and said, "Human beings should never be treated that way." Ratje said what's happening in some of the photos can be misinterpreted. "Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses," he said. Ratje said other photographers there saw the events the same way he did.

Videos made by Al Jazeera and Reuters also showed the confrontations. Some agents were swinging reigns, per the Washington Post, but not whips, and were not shown to be hitting anyone. Members of Congress from both parties also criticized the agents' behavior. "The images turn our stomach," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor. The Border Patrol's boss, Raul Ortiz, told reporters in Del Rio early in the week that he was sure the agents were just "trying to control" their horses. It was his decision to dispatch the mounted patrol. (Read more US-Mexico border stories.)

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