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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Agent Who Shot Mexican Teen Named in AZ

TUCSON (CN) - Incendiary language that a grieving mother used in a wrongful-death complaint against the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot her child does not outweigh the public's interest in knowing that agent's name, a federal judge ruled.

The District of Arizona had previously kept sealed the name of the agent who shot 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez 10 times through a border fence as he walked home one October night in 2012 along Calle Internacional, a street in Nogales, Sonora, that runs parallel to the border.

Araceli Rodriguez has been fighting for the four months in court to learn the name of the responsible agent.

Phoenix Newspapers Inc. intervened in the case, and U.S. District Judge Raner Collins agreed with it and Rodriguez on Thursday, ordering the defendant identified in the complaint as Lonnie Swartz.

Though Swartz's attorneys claimed that anonymity was necessary "to prevent ridicule, injury, harassment, embarrassment, and threats to defendant and his family," Collins found that these concerns, albeit valid, "do not rise to the level of overcoming the strong presumption in favor of public access."

While the judge unsealed the agent's name, he allowed "absolutely no other information including, but not limited to, defendant's date of birth, address, phone number, current station and/or place of employment ... to be disclosed."

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