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Mexican immigrant death at border draws protests

June 4, 2010 | 12:26 pm

Anastasio protest

The Taser-related death of a Mexican man in U.S. custody is being protested along the border and in the Mexican capital, at a time tensions over immigration were already high.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the American side of the U.S.-Mexico border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana on Thursday, carrying candles, posters, and signs calling for "justice" for Anastasio Hernandez. The 42-year-old migrant died Saturday after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent shot him with a Taser during a scuffle at the crossing.

Hernandez was caught by border agents after apparently crossing back into the San Diego area, where his wife and five U.S.-born children live. As he was being deported once more to Tijuana on Friday night, Hernandez resisted, became combative, and was Tasered, authorities said. The name of the agent who fired the Taser has not been released.

Hernandez reportedly had lived in San Diego since he was a teenager. The San Diego Medical Examiner's Office ruled his death a homicide and also found "acute methamphetamine intoxication." The finding is currently up at the coroner's site (Hernandez's first name is also being spelled as Anastacio in some reports).

The Mexican government is vigorously protesting the Hernandez death. The permanent commission of Mexico's Congress and the Foreign Ministry decried the death and asked for a full investigation. President Felipe Calderon's office also released a statement in protest. On the U.S. side, San Diego's police department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said they are investigating.

At Thursday's protest, the Notimex official news agency reported that thousands of motorists waiting to cross from Tijuana into San Diego honked their horns in unison with the demonstrators on the U.S. side.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Thursday's demonstration for Anastasio Hernandez in San Ysidro. Credit: Associated Press.

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