EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating reports of social media videos apparently showing one of its troopers chasing a driver into Mexico.
The videos began surfacing early Saturday. One shows a chase of a red sports car over the humps at the Bridge of the Americas, onto the span leading to Mexico, and ending at the Mexican inspection booths. A large sign can be seen above the vehicles saying “Mexico.”
The first video shows a man in a tan uniform going up to the red car, holding a gun, and pulling a civilian onto the ground. A pair of Mexican soldiers can be seen in the background just looking at the scene.
A second video shows a uniformed Mexican official on a cell phone while the trooper returns to his SUV with the State of Texas emblem and the words “Department of Public Safety.” This video also shows the trooper returning to the car to talk to the driver while a Mexican soldier records him on a cell phone. The video ends with the trooper walking back to his vehicle.
According to Mexico federal officials, the trooper has been released back to the U.S. and the driver of the vehicle has been released in Mexico as they are Mexican citizen.
Sgt. Eliot Torres, the public information officer with DPS, told KTSM Monday morning that the “investigation is ongoing, and we have nothing to release at this time.”
According to former El Paso and Tuscon sector Border Patrol chief and UTEP professor, Dr. Victor M. Manjarrez, this isn’t the first time a U.S. law enforcement officer has crossed into Mexico.
“Usually the officer is detained, for a brief period of time. They usually detain and then that’s when the diplomatic relations come in,” said Manjarraz, who is the associate director of the Center for Law and Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Manjarraz said the DPS trooper was likely acting in the heat of the moment.
“I imagine with this DPS trooper in the heat of the moment he didn’t realize that he was in Mexico but of course to be clueless, the guy stopped and he had Mexican military there. That should have been clue one and two,” Manjarrez said.
The Americans Civil Liberties Union of Texas says they are investigating Operation Lone Star, an attorney with the organization commenting on the trooper crossing to Mexico.
“DPS officers, really any type of U.S. law enforcement officers, has no authority or any jurisdiction outside of the united states,” said Bernardo Cruz, an attorney for the ACLU of Texas.
As we have reported, according to Texas DPS, they are having multiple pursuits a day in El Paso.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, called the pursuits concerning but says she has no jurisdiction over Texas DPS.
“I’ve been very concerned about the way DPS has engaged in our community, especially the dangerous high-speed chases in neighborhoods, near schools and parks. This kind of engagement can and frequently does end in tragedy. When DHS was engaging in unsafe behavior on our streets in a similar manner, I called on them to change their policy, which they did. Unfortunately, I have no jurisdiction over state matters or purview over DPS,” Escobar said in a statement to KTSM.