Earlier this week a video from what appears to be a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) dashcam was released on TikTok. The video shows a Texas DPS trooper chasing a suspect across the Bridge of the Americas into México. The video went viral. A second video was also released on TikTok by a bystander who recorded the incident from the Mexican customs inspection area.
Public commentary on both sides of the border was about the armed incursion by a Texas trooper into México. Although erroneously reported in the American media, the uniformed officers in the video on the Mexican side are not Mexican military. They Mexican guardsmen who were recently deployed by the Mexican government.
Although they operate under the authority of the Mexican military hierarchy, they are a gendarmerie, which operate as law enforcement.
Mexican commentary has criticized the Mexican Guard unit for standing by and allowing the Texas trooper to enter Mexican soil and briefly detain the driver of the vehicle he was chasing. On the U.S. side of the border, the discourse vacillates between the incident, the incursion and immigration rhetoric.
Although the details of the incident are not fully known we know that the first video is likely from the dashcam of the Texas DPS vehicle. Texas officials are investigating how the video was released as well as the incident. We know that the trooper was released without incident back into El Paso.
Also, according to Mexican officials, the driver of the red vehicle is a Mexican national who was released because they were not accused of a crime in México.
Although commentary about the video is expected, a news outlet is expected to report the facts without a political twist. El Paso Matters, as a non-profit, is especially prohibited from politicking. However, their reporting of the incident both politicizes the issue and provides erroneous information that as of now remains on the outlet without correction.
El Paso Matters Politicizing
To understand how El Paso Matters has politicized the incident and to see how their reporting on the incident is inaccurate it is important to view the two videos of the incident.
On March 27, 2023, El Paso Matters reported the existence of the first video. The report by Corrie Boudreaux and Cindy Ramirez contains the inaccurate statement that the “DPS officer returned to his vehicle, locked himself in,” and was detained for two hours.
As the second video taken from the Mexican side of the border shows, the trooper was not “detained” nor did he lock himself in his vehicle. As a matter of fact, the trooper interacted with the driver of the vehicle he was chasing for some time without interference from the Mexican authorities.
Although Matters sources its statement from El Diario de Juárez, the fact that this erroneous information has yet to be corrected three days after their report is either lazy reporting, or more likely, the word usage is intended to allow a perception of serious border discord to remain in the public arena for political purposes.
For whatever reason, Mexican officials allowed the Texas deputy to make a brief arrest and talk to the passenger of the vehicle without interference. Rather than escalate the incident into a standoff, the incident was limited to the incursion and both the trooper and the driver were allowed to continue without being detained.
The reason the rhetoric about the trooper locking himself into his vehicle and being detained for two hours is important is because it allows the incident to be politicized between the Republican versus Democrat immigration debate.
El Paso Matters reported in the same report that Veronica Escobar issued a statement about the incident about her concerns about “the way DPS has engaged in our community.”
DPS has become the flashpoint between the Republicans and the Democrats on the immigration issue after Greg Abbott tasked DPS with immigration enforcement under Operation Lone Star. Although Escobar acknowledges she has no authority over the matter, she, nonetheless wanted to express her concern.
The choice of language in the report by El Paso Matters and the erroneous information they reported allows the incident to be used politically by Escobar against Abbott.
The incident has nothing to do with immigration and the political posturing by Escobar against Abbott or the misguided immigration rhetoric by Greg Abbott on immigration.
What the incident shows is that notwithstanding the “machismo” commentary from both sides of the border about the incident, Mexican officials reasonably handled the incident and did not escalate beyond what it was already. Mexican officials, unlike Veronica Escobar and El Paso Matters have not politicized the incident.
It is important to note that what the Texas trooper did is a violation of both Texas, U.S. and Mexican laws and he should be held to account. Nonetheless, the incident has little to do with the ongoing immigration rhetoric and a news outlet like El Paso Matters should not allow themselves to be used as a political instrument by a politician.
If we were fussing with our next door neighbor like we fuss with Mexico on the border, the sheriff would have been called a long time ago – this incident shows the arrogance of both sides hiding behind a word – sovereignty – when we really should be cooperating on issues of border security – very – very sad.
Nice to see an article that provides an alternative viewpoint.
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