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DHS announces review of policing and de-escalation techniques


The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that it will create a new agency to review use-of-force tactics and promote best practices among its agents, after photos last week of some chasing migrants on horseback stirred up controversy. 

DHS said the new Law Enforcement Coordination Council, chaired by Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas, would create standards in training and practice to ensure civil rights are protected.  

One sub-committee will review department-wide use-of-force policies, including those involving de-escalation tactics like the use of tear gas and non-lethal force. 

Another will review law enforcement training to ensure it focuses on eliminating implicit bias and profiling and enhancing de-escalation techniques and includes training on mental health support and community engagement.  

DHS was facing heat from the White House, as Vice President Kamala Harris called Mayorkas last week to demand his agents treat Haitian migrants with ‘dignity’

The Biden administration has taken aggressive action within the department after photos emerged last week of agents on horseback using split reins led many to accuse them of whipping migrants

The Biden administration has taken aggressive action within the department after photos emerged last week of agents on horseback using split reins led many to accuse them of whipping migrants

DHS banned the use of horses at the border and placed the agents at the center of the controversy on administrative leave while it investigated the incident

DHS banned the use of horses at the border and placed the agents at the center of the controversy on administrative leave while it investigated the incident

Though DHS is tasked with protecting the border, the agency was created in response to George W. Bush’s war on terror and is also tasked with collecting information on potential terrorists. 

DHS was facing pressure to take action from the White House, as Vice President Kamala Harris called Mayorkas last week to demand his agents treat Haitian migrants with ‘dignity.’ 

The administration has taken aggressive action within the department after photos emerged last week of agents on horseback using split reins led many to accuse them of whipping migrants. 

DHS banned the use of horses at the border and placed the agents at the center of the controversy on administrative leave while it investigated the incident. 

‘I can also convey to you that the secretary also conveyed to civil rights leaders earlier this morning that we would no longer be using horses in Del Rio,’ Psaki said during a press briefing. ‘So that is something – a policy change that has been made in response.’

Mayorkas, in testimony before the Homeland Security Committee last week, said the images of Border Patrol agents on horseback appearing to be using their reins as whips, ‘correctly and necessarily were met with our nation’s horror.’

‘They do not reflect who we are as a country nor do they reflect who the United States Custom and Border Protection is,’ Mayorkas said.

The secretary said that his agency was investigating the footage ‘with tremendous speed and with tremendous force,’ and would get to the bottom of the matter in ‘days, not weeks.’

Mayorkas, in testimony before the Homeland Security Committee last week, said the images of Border Patrol agents on horseback appearing to be using their reins as whips, 'correctly and necessarily were met with our nation's horror'

Mayorkas, in testimony before the Homeland Security Committee last week, said the images of Border Patrol agents on horseback appearing to be using their reins as whips, ‘correctly and necessarily were met with our nation’s horror’

But it’s now been over a week since Mayorkas’ testimony, DHS told DailyMail.com there were ‘no updates’ on the investigation. 

‘We have ensured that individuals, during the pendency of the investigation, are not conducting law enforcement duties to interact with migrants.’

Agents insist they were not using whips against the migrants, nearly 17,000 of whom set up a makeshift camp underneath and around the Del Rio International Bridge over the last few weeks.

They have reasoned that they were only using the reins on horses or to ward off immigrants – but not to whip them.

The photographer who took the viral images, Paul Ratje, later said he never saw any agents whipping migrants. 

‘I’ve never seen them whip anyone,’ Ratje told KTSM-TV. The still images actually depict the mounted agents swinging the long reins of their horses, not holding whips.

‘He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture,’ said Ratje, who shot the photos from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande river.

‘Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,’ Ratje explained of his photos. 

Agents are likely to be overwhelmed by another onslaught of migrants in the coming weeks, as reports show that nearly 20,000 mostly Haitian migrants are in Mexico and Colombia as they make the dangerous trek toward the US-Mexico border. 



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