CBP officer quits after admitting to choking motorist at California port of entry

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Ex-border officer faces year in prison

Pedestrians walk into Mexicali, Mexico from Calexico, California at the Port of Entry on on April 1, 2019. – US President Donald Trump announced the aid cut-off to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala last week and threatened once again to close the US border with Mexico in response to the migrant surge. (SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A 53-year-old public servant pleaded guilty this week to using unreasonable force against a motorist at the U.S. port of entry in Calexico, Calif.

As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Esaul Bello has quit his job as an officer of Customs and Border Protection and will be sentenced on June 2 on a charge of deprivation of rights under the color of law.

On Nov. 26, 2018, Bello was on duty at the primary inspection lanes of the port of entry when he began to question a person seeking admission into the United States. According to records, Bello reached for the individual’s neck with both hands and began to shake him.

A man uses a walker as he passes the Port of Entry on the US/Mexico border in Calexico, CA, on February 15, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the individual was found to be offering no resistance at the time and that Bello’s actions violated his Fourth Amedment rights against unreasonable use of force.

“This is a rare and troubling situation. We will always move swiftly to protect the public from officers who use their power to violate another person’s constitutional rights,” said Robert Brewer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.

The victim’s name wasn’t released and the U.S. Attorney didn’t say what precipitated Bello’s actions. The former CBP officer now faces a $100,000 fine and up to one year in prison. His U.S. government security clearance also has been terminated.

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