Newly-released police body-camera footage of Bexar County Sheriff Deputy Patrick Divers tasering a 16-year-old migrant boy inside a federally funded shelter in San Antonio, Texas, notes Reveal News:
The deputy had repeatedly been told that the child, who was sitting on the bathroom’s toilet seat cover, understood little English. He was surrounded by bilingual staff members who could interpret, but they stepped aside when Divers drew his weapon. He did not tell the boy that he was under arrest. He ordered the teen in English to stand up and turn around. The child stood up; he was adjusting the drawstring on his pants when Divers shot him with his Taser.
The child showed no signs of fighting back or resisting arrest. Divers then repeatedly pulsed the weapon on the child’s torso and thighs. In all, the 16-year-old experienced 35 seconds of electric current running through his body, rendering him immobile. Divers’ partner eventually cuffed the teen, who was dripping blood; it’s unclear what caused the bleeding.
Aura Bogado, a senior investigative reporter at Reveal News, told Democracy Now that many migrant children, being held in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, are handed over to local law enforcement:
Well, we know that at least 84 children have been turned over from shelters to local law enforcement. We did a lot to try and get records from individual police departments, individual sheriff’s departments, and we were able to get 19 records, including the case of this child. What we found, over and over and over again, is that children are charged with misdemeanors. We only found one felony charge in everything that we saw. That was a federal, I believe, assault charge — I’m sorry, a felony assault charge. And that was dismissed. So, over and over again, the cases are dismissed. The idea that a child, particularly a refugee child, someone who is fleeing violence and is a minor and has special rights under international law and U.S. law, would then be subjected to arrest for something like fighting or, in this case, allegedly breaking some plastic bins and some bed frames, that seems highly unusual, I think, to anybody that either has kids or has — we’ve all been kids. You know, a lot of young people fight. That is not necessarily unusual for any population. And so, we see that while this may be really egregious in terms of the level of force that was used, these arrests themselves are not that uncommon.
Reveal News, Democracy Now)