Prosecutors have accused Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen of using his government vehicle to run down a Guatemalan man in 2017. He also sent text messages that referred to immigrants as "subhuman s**t."
Here's what we know
On the morning of Dec. 3, 2017, a CBP camera operator recorded Bowen hitting 23-year-old Antolin Lopez Aguilar. a Guatemalan illegal immigrant, twice with his car as the man ran away from agents on the American side of the border toward the point of entry.
When he was hit the first time, the man "reached back while running and used his hands to 'push off' of the hood" according to an affidavit filed by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General.
The man fell to the ground after Bowen hit him with the truck a second time. According to the affidavit, Bowen's truck "came to a full stop within inches of running Lopez Aguilar over where he lay on the ground." The man Bowen hit was sentenced to 30 days in a federal prison for illegally crossing the U.S. border.
After this, Bowen allegedly filed a false police report. Once he found out he was being investigated, he changed his official story to claim that he had only accidentally hit Lopez Aguilar with his truck, and that he wasn't even sure that the truck had made contact.
What did the agent text about immigrants?
Bowen's text messages are being used as evidence that he had "great disdain" for illegal immigrants, which led to the alleged assault.
In one text, Bowen called illegal immigrants "disgusting subhuman s**t unworthy of being kindling for a fire"
In another text, someone asked Bowen "Did you gas hiscorpse[SIC] or just use regular peanut oil while tazing?? For a frying effect."
Bowen responded, "Guats [a derogatory term for Guatemalans] are best made crispy with an olive oil from their native pais [Spanish for "country"]."
He also used derogatory terms for immigrants in several other texts.
Bowen's defense attorney is not denying that the texts were sent, but instead argued that this type of behavior was "commonplace throughout the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency's culture, and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen's mind-set."
Bowen's trial is scheduled for August. He has been on indefinite leave from the Border Patrol without pay since May 2018.