SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says deputies can’t arrest a woman seen on video attacking border wall protesters because no one called for assistance or to report her.
For months, members of the Kumeyaay Tribe, whose ancestral lands span across the U.S.-Mexico border, have been protesting the expansion of the border wall, saying it is desecrating ancient burial sites east of San Diego. Tribal lawyers are also pursuing legal action against the White House seeking to stop construction in this area.
Others, non-tribal members, have joined the protests with some camping out at the site to stop the work, which includes controlled blasts.
On Friday night, a woman was caught on camera yelling obscenities and attacking several of the protesters. The video, which has been seen by thousands of people, was shared on an Instagram page called “kumeyaaydefenseagainstthewall.”
“Tonight we experienced a violent woman who tried to tear our tents down,” the post said. “We de escalated and stayed non violent. We used songs and prayers again just like how we non violently stop desecration to the land.”
The video shows the woman slap at least two people before storming around the campsite.
“This is my community,” the woman says. “And you guys are disturbing the job” of border wall construction.
San Diego Sheriff’s Lt. Ricardo Lopez said that despite the video, “they never received any reports or calls for assistance related to this. And, unfortunately, in order to conduct an investigation, we need a victim to come forward and report an allegation of criminal misconduct.”
As of Wednesday morning, no one had filed any formal complaints. And, Lopez said, the video is not enough.
“Can’t have an allegation of a criminal act without a victim to testify in court about what happened. If one is identified, then absolutely the video can be used to support allegations as evidence,” he said.
Members of the Kumeyaay Tribe have vowed to continue protesting to work.
“We’re out here again to protect our ancestors, protect our culture,” tribe member Cynthia Parada told Border Report on July 10.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers dispute the tribe’s claims, telling Border Report they have surveyed the area and failed to find any evidence of human remains or cultural materials.
Customs and Border Protection sent Border Report the following statement:
“The referenced project is being executed within the Roosevelt Reservation, a 60-foot corridor of federally-owned property that parallels the border with Mexico and is designated to carry out border security operations. Given the importance of the project to border security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot halt all construction activities. CBP takes the concerns of the Kumeyaay Tribes very seriously and will continue to work closely with the Kumeyaay tribes, their tribal leadership, and representatives as the project continues. Among other things, CBP has surveyed the project area, re-surveyed areas identified by Kumeyaay tribes as having a high probability for cultural artifacts or sensitive sites, shared the results of those surveys with Kumeyaay representatives, and made arrangements to have tribal cultural monitors affiliated with the Kumeyaay tribes on site during construction activities. To date, no burial sites, ancient villages, or sacred sites have been found within the project area or impacted by construction. CBP already has procedures in place that will require an immediate halt to construction if significant historic or cultural artifacts are identified within a particular work area, and it is actively working the Kumeyaay tribes on protocols for the treatment and disposition, including repatriation where necessary, of any artifacts that are found within the project area.”