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Report: Border horse patrol didn't hit migrants with reins, but behaved dangerously

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday an investigation into a 2021 Del Rio Texas Border Agent horse patrol incident found they behaved dangerously toward migrants but didn't hit them with horse reins. Pictured, U.S. border patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. File Photo by Natalie Krebs/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/520e6d0201f327fcf260dcb4f7d83812/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday an investigation into a 2021 Del Rio Texas Border Agent horse patrol incident found they behaved dangerously toward migrants but didn't hit them with horse reins. Pictured, U.S. border patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. File Photo by Natalie Krebs/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Friday published findings from an investigation into U.S. Border Patrol's Horse Patrol Unit in Del Rio Texas that found they did not strike any migrants with horse reins.

But it also found multiple failures and unprofessional and dangerous behavior.

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The incident Sept. 19, 2021, prompted the investigation when it appeared in a video that the agents were using the horses and reins to attack migrants trying to cross the border.

The Department of Homeland Security Secretary said at the time he was "horrified" when he saw the images of the agents charging migrants on horseback.

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The CBP said in a statement Friday that the investigation did conclude that, "there were failures at multiple levels of the agency, a lack of appropriate policies and training, and unprofessional and dangerous behavior by several individual Agents."

According to the CBP, the investigation did find multiple instances in which the agents acted inappropriately during the incident, including one Border Patrol Agent who was found to have used "denigrating and inappropriate language and to have maneuvered his horse unsafely near a child."

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The CBP said several agents were found to have behaved in a manner not in keeping with the professional standards of conduct expected of federal law enforcement personnel. In those cases, disciplinary review processes are underway, according to the CBP.

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The statement went on to say that the investigation findings "show that the agency failed to appropriately task, supervise, and exercise command and control over the Horse Patrol Units in Del Rio on September 19, 2021. Several Border Patrol Agents used force or the threat of force to attempt to drive migrants back into the Rio Grande River towards the U.S.-Mexico border, though there is no evidence that any migrants were forced to return to Mexico or denied entry to the United States."

The CBP said it is responding to the investigation findings by taking a series of corrective actions to remedy organizational and management issues identified in the report.

They include changes to practices, training, and operational methods, stricter limits on use of the horse patrol and strengthening leadership and agency accountability.

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