Border agent charged with violating woman’s civil rights by forbidding cellphone recording of arrest

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The U.S. Border Patrol is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A Border Patrol supervisor is accused of violating a person’s civil rights by forbidding them to film the agent on their cellphone during their arrest, according to charges filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen.

The case against Adriana Gandarilla, 44, alleges that on May 6, 2018, while working as a supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol in La Joya in South Texas, she “verbally commanded” a person “to stop recording law enforcement activities using her cell phone and physically forced (the person) to delete from her cell phone a recorded video of law enforcement activity.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sebastian Edwards claims in the case that Gandarilla grabbed the woman “by her neck and arms” and pushed her “against the front outside wall of her residence.”

The accuser is not named and only referred to as “M.P.” in court documents. The town of La Joya is in western Hidalgo County, part of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector.

Gandarilla, a 19-year veteran of the force, is accused of unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer. She is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker on Friday in federal court in McAllen. If convicted of the civil rights charge, Gandarilla faces up to one year in federal prison and a possible $100,000 maximum fine.  

Border Report contacted Gandarilla’s lawyer, Reynaldo Merino, who refused to comment on the case.

Border Patrol officials told Border Report that Gandarilla is a current Border Patrol agent but gave no further comment writing in an email: “The United States Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector is aware of an allegation against a current Border Patrol agent regarding the deprivation of civil rights. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the United States Border Patrol are fully cooperating with all investigators.”

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.

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