Politics & Government

Border probe finds most agent abuse allegations need no more review

A study of more than 800 allegations against the federal Customs and Border Protection agency for excessive force and other alleged abuses has found less than a quarter of them may warrant further review.

After a review of 876 cases, Mark Morgan, who heads the Office of Internal Affairs of Customs and Border Protection, said at a media briefing Friday that while this does not imply misconduct of officers or agents, these 155 cases will be further examined.

He said he does not know when the review will be completed or what details would be released about the individual cases.

Morgan became acting assistant commissioner of the Office of Internal Affairs for Customs and Border Protection on June 16.

Morgan said that 656 cases did not require further review, either because the investigation was thoroughly conducted and the force was reasonable, because the plaintiff recanted or because of insufficient evidence. Others are still open criminal investigations, or were found to not involve Customs and Border Protection personnel.

Morgan said Customs and Border Protection does not have the authority to conduct criminal investigations.

“This has resulted in very unintended consequences, but nevertheless consequences in terms of efficiency, timeliness and transparency,” Morgan said. “Not quality, and there’s a big difference there.”

Addressing criticism for waiting to investigate administratively until the criminal investigations are completed, Morgan said the criminal investigations could be affected by Customs and Border Protection’s investigation.

“Unfortunately this process can take years,” Morgan said, addressing criticism of slow investigations. “And we’re taking a look at it.”