EL PASO, Texas -- A video circulating on social media shows U.S. Border Patrol agents using a “taser" to shock and subdue a man they say was a suspected human smuggler, but some allege it's just the latest example of the agency's use of excessive force when it comes to stun guns.
The incident took place Tuesday evening inside the Burger King restaurant in El Paso's Fox Plaza and was captured on a video that's now gone viral.
A spokesman for Customs & Border Protection said Wednesday that agents had arrested four people in the area for immigration violations before learning of a man who walked away from a suspicious vehicle nearby, which he said is "a tactic commonly used by alien smuggling organizations."
The CBP said when agents found the man in the restaurant and tried to take him into custody for questioning, he struggled to avoid being handcuffed.
The suspect's identity was not released, but the CBP said "records checks indicated that the man was in the country illegally and had a positive criminal history. "
"Agents deployed their taser in order to gain control of the subject while mitigating the physical struggle," the CBP spokesman said, adding that the man was "medically cleared" after the incident.
There have been repeated questions however, the Los Angeles Times reports, about the agency's use of stun guns since its' agents first began carrying them years ago in an effort aimed at curbing deadly border shootings.
A Times analysis of hundreds of uses of stun guns by agents during a three-year period last decade found dozens of cases where excessive force was alleged. In most of those instances, the Times reported there was "no clear indication that agents were in danger, according to use-of-force reports."
In Tuesday's El Paso incident though, the CBP maintained that "the video (on social media) clearly shows the subject causing a disturbance as Border Patrol agents attempt to arrest him."