CALEXICO, Calif. -
UPDATE ( JANUARY 1st, 1:40 P.M)
Customs and Border Protection have spoken out following the incident that happened between two men and CBP officers on December 17th.
According to CBP, an officer suspected Marco Castellanos of recording inspectional operations with his cell phone and instructed Castellanos to stop. When the Castellanos failed to do so, he became verbally abusive towards the officers.
Officers attempted to escort him to an area away from other awaiting travelers but Castellanos' father interfered with the officers' attempts to control Castellanos.
A CBP officer subdued the father and both he and his son were escorted to a secure area for further review.
The father later complained of physical discomfort and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation. Both were subsequently released without charges.
CBP stresses integrity and professionalism and is taking measures to review the encounter to guarantee there was no mistreatment. The CBP Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the details of the incident.
Westmorland resident Marco Castellanos said officers of the Calexico Downtown port of entry attacked him and his 75-year-old father on Sunday night, December 17th.
“I see a white male officer grab my father and throw him in between the two trays are there – there are two benches. So, in between the benches, as they’re arresting him, and they finally put the handcuffs on my father, they hit him five, six times in the ribs,” Castellanos explains, reliving the scene etched in his mind.
They were coming back from Mexicali when they were sent to a secondary inspection waiting area. Castellanos said he receives a message on his cellphone and he checks it. At that moment, he said, an officer became upset at him and yells at him.
“Don’t be taking video of my job or me. And I responded with, I’m not interested in what you’re doing. I don’t have to be recording you. As soon as I told him that he responded with, give me your…phone, you son…,’” Castellanos said.
He said he explained to the officer that he wasn’t recording anything and refused to give up the phone, putting it in his pocket.
“He lunges at me and throws me on the fence. And about seventy officers jumped over the fence and jumped on top of me,” Castellanos said.
His father said he was attacked when he tried to calm things down.
“They threw me against the benches. They twisted my right arm. They broke it,” Castellanos, Sr., said.
He said they continued hitting him after he was handcuffed.
“They were all around me. One of them hit me in the ribs on the left side, six or seven times,” Castellanos, Sr., said.
He said he suffered broken ribs and a fractured elbow. He was rushed to a hospital. Castellanos was released. They plan to sue.
Customs and Border Protection officials told us they’ll send us a statement when it’s authorized.