TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION — Tohono O’odham Naiton tribal officials are seeking answers after one of their tribal citizens, a 34-year-old man, was struck by a U.S. Border Patrol truck on Thursday, June 14, 2018. The driver of the vehicle hit Paulo Remes and drove away. Remes was treated at a medical facility and did not appear to have any life threatening injuries.
The incident was captured on the victim’s cellphone. The video has been spreading on social media:
“They just ran me over, bro,” Remes says on the video.
He told The Arizona Daily Star that he was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of injuries from the incident, which took place on Tohono O’odham land about 60 miles southwest of Tucson. Remes appeared to be standing in a dirt road facing the vehicle when it made contact, knocking him to the ground.
Tohono O’Odham Nation Chairman Manuel issued the following statement:
“On the evening of Jun. 14, 2018, a vehicle incident occurred in Topawa, Ariz. involving a U.S. Border Patrol agent and a 34-year-old man who is a Tohono O’odham Nation tribal member. The victim was transported to a health care facility and was later released on his own recognizance after it was determined he did not appear to have life threatening injuries. The Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department, which has primary jurisdiction for all crimes committed on the Nation, is conducting the investigation in concert with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office.The Nation is aware of disturbing video footage of the incident that has been posted online. The safety and wellbeing of the general public is the Nation’s top priority, and the Nation’s leadership is monitoring this issue closely.As this is an active investigation matter, no further comments are available at this time.”
The Border Patrol’s regional office in Tucson, Arizona issued this statement:
“The United States Border Patrol, Tucson Sector is fully cooperating with the Tohono O’odham Police Department as they investigate a Border Patrol agent involved vehicle incident that occurred late Thursday evening on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Tucson Sector has been made aware of a video taken yesterday on the Tohono O’odham Nation relevant to this incident.We stress honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission. We do not tolerate misconduct on or off duty and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged unlawful conduct by our personnel.”
The Tohono O’odham Reservation is on the border of the United States and Mexico. The nation’s tribal officials have repeatedly shown their opposition to the proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan.