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It’s under me Column on the hill About the sentencing of four border patrol agents in Texas and what it says about us as a country. What’s particularly crushing is not that this could happen, but that it was predicted almost a year ago.

President Eisenhower once said that “finding a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting trips.” When it comes to subordinates, it can become a virtual canned hunt for the president. Worse, presidents often use other subordinates to pull the trigger.

This is what happened this week under the president Biden He ensnared four Border Patrol agents in one of the most cowardly canned hunts in political history.

After nearly a year of investigation, the Biden administration announced that the agents would be punished, even though investigators found no evidence of flogging immigrants, as Biden and many other politicians and experts have insisted. Because the president declared—before the investigation began—that the agents must be punished, the agents must be found guilty of something. Therefore, they were reprimanded for “unprofessional conduct”, “unsafe work” and “offensive language”.

Make no mistake: this is not about protecting immigrants. This is about protecting a president.

The sentencing of the officers came 10 months ago after the media went into a frenzy over a false story accusing the mounted officers of whipping undocumented immigrants near Del Rio, Texas, on September 19.

A photographer captured the scene, which showed officers using reins to guide their horses. The entire videotape clearly shows the agents using the leashes on their mounts, not on the migrants. Not only did the photographer quickly deny seeing the officers whip the immigrants, but the videotape clearly disproved the claim. However, for many people in politics and the media, this did not matter because the claim of racial justice “flogging (of) Haitian refugees

Speaker of Parliament Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemnedThe inappropriate use of whips by border patrol officers on horseback appears to intimidate migrantsSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) condemnedImages of Border Patrol’s inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants – including the use of whips” vice president Kamala Harris Emotions in “Nama” about how violence “Images of some of the worst moments in our history, where this kind of behavior was used against the native people of our country, during slavery was used against African Americans.“Repetitions Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Ayana Presley (D-Mass.) described the incident as follows:Worse than what we saw in slavery” And “White supremacist behavior

President Biden He hastened to express his disgust and indignation as well: “It was terrible—as you saw—you saw people being treated like they were: horses almost running over them and people strapping on. This is cruel. I promise you, those people will pay

when, Some of us disagreed that the president once again announced the guilt of the accused persons without evidence and investigation. The possible innocence of these officers did not matter to the president or to much of the press.

Secretary of Homeland Security, despite being in charge of the investigation Alejandro Mayorkas joined the condemnation of the officers and said that their behavior “It challenges all the values ​​that we seek to instill in our peopleHe then promised swift justice with an investigation that would “take days, not weeks” – yet the investigation dragged on for months.

The reason was clear. Within hours, it was no longer a question of whether the agents were whipping immigrants. The issue was that the president falsely claimed that they had whipped immigrants and would be punished.

Some media outlets even admitted that the story was a lie, but President Biden never apologized for his false accusation. The innocence of the agents simply did not matter.

that in A column last yearI explained what could happen. First, the government buries the investigation to “wait for public attention to wane.” He then issues a long-delayed report and protects the president by “changing the question.” For example, what began as an inquiry into whether agents used bridles to whip immigrants may turn into a lengthy inquiry into the use of horses in crowd control operations.

And that is exactly what happened. After almost a year, officers will face a relatively light punishment – two weeks without pay – for offenses such as speaking in a threatening manner or handling a horse too close to a child.

This small group of mounted border officers was ordered to the river’s edge to prevent a large number of migrants from crossing. In previous legal cases, I have deposed mounted officers involved in crowd control operations. Since horses are commonly used for crowd control, such moments are routine. This does not excuse threatening words or careless maneuvers – but such cases usually result in verbal reprimands on the scene or sometimes formal discipline within weeks of the operation. They do not include multi-agency efforts and nearly a year of research.

Moreover, this situation was revealed in a few days after the Del Rio incident. However, the Biden administration waited until one Friday afternoon ten months later to release its findings. Notably, despite the fact that Chris Magnus, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, has said so, at no point did he erase the racist accusations that black immigrants were being flogged.There is no evidence that the Border Patrol agents involved in the incident hit anyone with their leashes, intentionally or otherwise.

From start to finish, these agents are treated as tools for the president and his administration. They were first used as an embodiment of systemic racism in law enforcement. They were then used as scapegoats to fulfill the president’s promise that “those people will pay.”

Most Americans are horrified by this behavior, but few have seen the full story. It’s doubtful they will, since many in the media were complicit with the president in the original false story and may be reluctant to fully correct the record now.

President Biden declared at the beginning of his administration that it is “the most difficult but the most important step [for a free nation] Burying the legacy of tyranny and guaranteeGovernment and institutions that adhere to the rule of law. “Every country faces challenges to the rule of law, including my country.” What few of us expected was that Biden himself would become one of these challenges.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

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