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White House And Media Outraged By Border Patrol ‘Whipping’ Migrants, But It’s Not True

Washington, DC – The White House quickly condemned members of the U.S. Border Patrol for attacking undocumented immigrants at the border and called for an investigation after reporters mistook the flying reins of agents on horseback for whips.

“For all you Social Media Warriors out there: these are NOT whips. And no, Border Patrol agents are NOT ‘whipping’ people,” the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) wrote in a post to its official Facebook page on Monday night.

“They are REINS… Stay with us here, like a steering wheel is used to drive a car, the reins are used to ‘drive’ the horse,” the FOP clarified. “Thanks for coming to our TED talk.”

Controversy erupted on Monday when Al Jazeera and Reuters released footage of mounted agents trying to push back undocumented Haitian immigrants who were illegally crossing the U.S. border near Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 19, CNN reported.

None of the photos or videos show agents using their reins to strike migrants.

The videos showed Border Patrol agents on horseback trying to stop a flood of illegal immigrants as they crossed from Mexico into the United States.

Al Jazeera reported that the migrants were actually trying to return to their families that were camping under a bridge near the entry point in Del Rio, but they had gone back to Mexico to shop for groceries and were returning to their illegal encampment when the agents tried to stop them.

The video showed the migrants completely ignored the commands of the mounted agents to turn back.

One video showed some of the men crossing over were standing behind groups of women and children for protection from the agents trying to protect the border.

At times, the scene became chaotic as Haitian immigrants tried to dodge the agents on horseback that were blocking their path.

Video showed the agents racing back and forth on their horses along the riverbank in an effort to stop the breach.

But after the videos were released to the public, there was a massive outcry by viewers who thought they were seeing whips in the hands of the law enforcement officers, CNN reported.

But U.S. Border Patrol agents do not carry whips, the agency has confirmed.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the videos horrible to watch at her daily press briefing on Monday, NBC News reported.

“I have seen some of the footage,” Psaki told reporters. “I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details.”

“I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it’s acceptable or appropriate,” she added.

Vice President Kamala Harris also weighed in, FOX News reported.

“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible,” Harris told reporters. “And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way. And I’m deeply troubled about it. And I’ll also be talking to Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas about it today.”

Mayorkas has already said that the images being circulated depict the reins on the horses, not whips, CNN reported.

“[B]ut we are going to investigate the facts to ensure that the situation is as we understand it to be, and if it’s anything different we will respond accordingly,” he promised.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said the long reins that are seen in the footage are used to ensure control of the horse, according to CNN.

Chief Ortiz said the mounted patrol units have played an important role in the agency’s response to the crisis in Del Rio.

“As you know, we have about half of this area locked down, and we’re working on trying to get the other side of the bridge completely locked down,” he said.

The chief said he had asked the horse patrol unit to do an assessment of the situation on the border on Sunday, CNN reported.

“As was witnessed in the video and some of the pictures, the migrants were going back-and-forth,” Chief Ortiz explained. “We do not know who are the smugglers or who are the migrants, so it’s important that those Border Patrol agents maintain a level of security for both themselves and for the migrant population.”

He said operating on horseback on the riverbank is difficult and agents work hard at maintaining control of the horses “so we do not get in a position where we injure a migrant as they’re trying to make that treacherous trek across that river is probably more important than anything,” CNN reported.

“And I’m pretty sure and confident that that’s exactly what was happening, but we will certainly look into the matter, to make sure that we do not have any activity that could be construed as a response to a law enforcement effort that is unacceptable,” the border patrol chief said.

He refused to comment on the allegations the reins had been used as whips, according to CNN.

“You’re assuming facts that have not yet been determined,” Chief Ortiz said.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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