Border agent backers to protest prosecutor

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THE WASHINGTON TIMES More than 1,000 people are expected to rally Saturday outside the offices of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in San Antonio to demand his termination and protest his “malicious prosecution” of law-enforcement officers who sought to arrest illegal aliens.

Sponsored by the American Freedom Riders and U.S. Border Watch, the rally is billed as the “Showdown at Sutton's Office,” and will feature as keynote speaker former U.S. Border Patrol Agent Gary M. Brugman, who spent two years in prison for shoving an illegal alien to the ground with his foot.

The protesters, including about 500 motorcycle riders, are angry about Mr. Sutton’s prosecution of Mr. Brugman, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos, Jose Alonso Compean and Noe Aleman, and Edwards County, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez.

“It’s time for patriotic Americans to protest U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s malicious prosecution of immigration law-enforcement agents and to demand the Justice Department and the Bush administration cease their intimidation tactics of Border Patrol agents and local law-enforcement officers,” said Danny Smith, founder of the American Freedom Riders.

The Phoenix-based motorcycle club has mobilized hundreds for rallies nationwide to support border security and protest illegal immigration, and to call on President Bush to pardon the officers and fire Mr. Sutton.

“We put out a call for people to show up and they do,” Mr. Smith said. “I can assure you, they will show up once again in San Antonio. These are loyal Americans fed up with what they see going on and they want to do something about it.”

U.S. Border Watch, which wants politicians to impose “real, substantial solutions in the critical fight to secure the nation’s borders,” has vowed to line both sides of the street in front of Mr. Sutton's office with protesters.

“We will all descend thunderously on the office of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton and emphatically demand that he resign or that President Bush fire him for his illegal prosecutions of Deputy Hernandez and the former Border Patrol agents,” said Curtis Collier, who heads U.S. Border Watch.

Many of the residents of Hernandez’s hometown of Rock Springs, Texas, population 1,200, also are expected at the rally, in addition to the families of former agents Compean and Ramos, along with Hernandez.

Mr. Brugman, released from prison in March, was convicted of using unreasonable force “under the color of law” in trying to detain Miguel Angel Jimenez-Saldana, an illegal alien who sought with nine others to cross the border near Eagle Pass, Texas, about 150 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Mr. Brugman was accused of shoving the man to the ground with his foot. A key witness against him was a convicted drug smuggler whom Mr. Brugman had arrested at the same location six weeks after the shoving incident, who testified that Mr. Brugman broke his nose during a fight.

The fight was reported by Mr. Brugman, and a complaint was never filed in the case.

Ramos and Compean were sentenced in January to 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks after he abandoned 743 pounds of marijuana on the border near Fabens, Texas.

Hernandez was convicted in December and sentenced to a year in prison for shooting at a truck loaded with illegal aliens after the driver tried to run him down.

Aleman was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States in his effort to adopt three teenage girls from Mexico and for harboring the girls in his home. The girls were his wife’s nieces and Texas officials had approved the adoption.

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