Arizona tribe is protesting the decision not to prosecute Border Patrol agents for fatal shooting
Oct 13, 2023, 6:00 PM
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)
SELLS, Ariz. (AP) — The Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona on Friday blasted the decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office not to prosecute Border Patrol agents who shot and killed a member of the tribe after they were summoned by tribal police.
The tribe’s executive office called the decision not to file charges “a travesty of justice.”
“There are countless questions left unanswered by this decision. As a result, we cannot and will not accept the U.S. Attorney’s decision,” said a statement signed by Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Verlon M. Jose and Vice Chairwoman Carla L. Johnson.
The statement said the tribe may request Congressional inquiries into the shooting death of Raymond Mattia. The 58-year-old was killed the night of May 18 outside a home in the reservation’s Menagers Dam community near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona and Arizona-based representatives for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond Friday to emails requesting comment.
The shooting occurred after Border Patrol agents were called to the area by the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department for help responding to a report of shots fired.
Body camera footage released the following month by CBP shows that agents were concerned that Mattia may have been carrying a handgun. No firearm was found.
The video shows Mattia throwing a sheathed machete at the foot of a tribal officer and then holding out his arm. After Mattia was shot and on the ground, an agent declares: “He’s still got a gun in his hand.”
CBP said earlier that the three Border Patrol agents who opened fire and at least seven others at the scene were wearing body cameras and activated them during the shooting.
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Mattia had nine gunshot wounds.