A controversy surrounding the U.S. Border Patrol shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican boy intensified Friday, when the police in Calexico accused Mexican lawmen of refusing them access to the boy and otherwise thwarting their investigation.
At a news conference Friday, Calexico Police Chief Leslie Ginn also charged that Mexican police withheld other vital evidence--including the 9-millimeter bullet that injured the youth, the teenager’s clothing and various police and ambulance reports.
Mexican authorities denied the charges and explained that the youth’s slow recovery had prompted doctors to forbid a police interview.
Meanwhile, Calexico police said the Border Patrol agent who shot the boy on Nov. 18 did so when the youth, perched atop the border fence, prepared to throw a rock at the agent.
The victim, Eduardo Garcia Zamores, who is recuperating in a Mexicali hospital, denied he had a rock or made threats against the agent, according to Marco E. Lopez, the San Diego attorney who is representing the youth in a $9-million civil negligence claim filed this week against the Border Patrol. Four witnesses have supported his version.
The Border Patrol has declined to discuss the case or identify the agent.
The case has ignited protests at the Mexicali-Calexico border, one of which resulted Wednesday in a nine-hour shutdown of the international port and a halt of the flow of commerce and travelers.
The agent has been reassigned to other duties pending the outcome of the case.