Senator Wants Border Patrol Agent Rule Changes

Tuesday, July 17th 2007, 3:48 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. Senator Tom Coburn suggested Tuesday that Border Patrol agents should be allowed to shoot at fleeing drug traffickers. Coburn's comments came during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the patrol's deadly force rules after the conviction of two agents who shot a fleeing, unarmed drug trafficker.

During the meeting, the Oklahoma Republican asked what's wrong with shooting traffickers after they've been told to stop.

Johnny Sutton -- the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas -- explained that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that using deadly force in that way is illegal. He says agents also have no way of knowing fore sure if the fleeing person is a trafficker.

Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar says agents can return fire to defend themselves, their partners or other people.