Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hang 'em High

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK - caught on C-SPAN filling out a crossword puzzle during the hearings for confirmation of Justice Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court'
I guess some of our legislators think that if anyone is running from the cops they must be guilty, and deadly force is A-OK.

Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) (see left) stated, or at least left the impression, that there should have been no repercussions when two U.S. Border Patrol agents shot and killed a fleeing suspect who turned out to be drug trafficker, but who had neither fired at nor threatened the agents or any bystanders.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Border Patrol agents should be allowed to shoot at fleeing drug traffickers, a Republican senator suggested Tuesday.

Johnny Sutton, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, testifies about Border Control agents.

The patrol's deadly force rules were questioned at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning the conviction of two agents who shot a fleeing, unarmed drug trafficker and covered it up.

"Why is it wrong to shoot the [trafficker] after he's been told to stop?" asked Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma.

Johnny Sutton, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said the Supreme Court has ruled that using deadly force in that way is illegal. Agents also may not know if the fleeing person is a trafficker, he said.

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

Some of you remember that Coburn is in favor of the border fence between the US and Mexico, and against the guest worker programs.

He also raised a few eyebrows in 2005 and 2006 when he was caught, live, on C-SPAN, filling out crossword puzzles during the confirmation hearings for both the Roberts and Alito appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. (the photo above shows his rigorous concentration during the Alito hearings)

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