A Honduran teenager, in custody and being held at a shelter for incoming refugees, was tasered while tying up his pants. Shelter employees called 911 after the teen allegedly broke a bin and a bed frame. Once English-speaking local cops arrived they began shouting commands to the teenager in a language the teen did not understand.
The story was first reported by Reveal News and later covered by Democracy Now. In the body camera footage the teenager can be seen in the bathroom tying up his string-held pants. Officers from San Antonio’s Bexar County arrived on scene in response to the 911 call.
Officers Divers and Schneider were the ones who engaged the teenager. Officer Divers declares “I’m going to tase this kid” as he approached the bathroom where the teenager was standing inside.
Divers begins to tell the teen to “turn around”. When the young man does not comply, Divers tasered him for over 30 seconds. The boys family reportedly wanted the body camera footage to be seen to make others aware of what can happen when communication issues, misbehavior, and law enforcement converge.
The teen asked the officers to stop and wanted to know where they were taking him. The federally funded shelter serves as a halfway house for refugees but is more likened to a juvenile detention center as they’re not allowed to leave.
Often times such juveniles are shuffled around from facility to facility until they can be legally placed in a home or returned to their homeland, whatever the case may be.
The family wanted others to “see this and know how some children are treated in custody” says Auro Bogado. “It’s rare to be able to speak with people who work in shelters…but we just cold called the shelter…I was able to speak with her (director) for some while…she was very sorry for what happened that day” the reporter said after speaking with the director of the shelter.
Bogado also said this particular teenager had been placed in a shelter where teenaged killers were being held but did not confirm nor deny the teenager had a criminal history.
Bogado was asked by Democracy Now to talk about the number of teenagers who were turned over to local law enforcement for misbehavior while at the shelter. Most of the teenagers were charged with misdemeanors, Bogado said, adding the particular shelter in question had turned over 19 teenagers to local law enforcement. She says most often such disruptive teenagers are simply shuffled to another shelter for migrant teens.
As TFTP has reported such shelters are run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and have very little accountability and oversight by the public.
In extreme cases, teens have been raped by shelter staff with some even contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV.
The precarious nature of effectively arresting teenagers (also known as ‘unaccompanied minors’) and placing them in government-run shelters on the basis of their nationality and their legal/illegal status, after having crossed an imaginary border between countries, is Orwellian at best.
Neither one of the ruling political parties have devised an answer to the ongoing border crisis which has carried on now for decades.