The U.S. Border Patrol is under fire for allegedly ordering its elite, SWAT-style units to use non-lethal bean bag ammunition before responding with deadly force – even against suspects armed with high-powered semi-automatic and automatic weapons like AK-47s.
The controversy over the agency’s “bean bag” policy began in the days following the Dec. 14 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and has escalated recently as more information is uncovered in the investigation of the fatal shooting.
"When the suspected aliens did not drop their weapons, two Border Patrol agents deployed ‘less than lethal' beanbags at the suspected aliens,” according to a FBI search warrant request filed in the U.S. District Court in Tucson on Dec. 29. “At this time, at least one of the suspected aliens fired at the Border Patbrol agents. Two Border Patrol agents returned fire, one with his long gun and one with his pistol. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot with one bullet and died shortly after.”
The warrant appears to support claims made by Terry’s brother, Kent, and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo that Terry’s team -- part of the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit, also known as BORTAC -- was “under standing orders to always use bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition.” Tancredo wrote about the issue in a Dec. 18 op-ed article.