For Release: December 19, 2007
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11
Black Leader Urges Pardon for Incarcerated Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean
Mychal Massie, chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network, is asking President George W. Bush to pardon jailed U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.
"This is Christmas, and in the spirit of Christmas, it is time for President Bush to show some compassion and pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean," said Massie. "Earlier this month, the President saw fit to pardon drug dealers, a moonshiner and thieves. It is time to give similar but more deserved relief to two men who have put their lives on the line in their service to our nation."
Ramos and Compean are serving federal prison sentences of 11 and 12 years, respectively, after being convicted of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations related to the shooting of suspected drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila in 2005. Davila was shot by the agents during a chase in February of 2005 in which Davila was allegedly smuggling 743 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1 million. Because federal prosecutors gave Davila immunity in exchange for his testimony against the agents, jurors were never told of Davila's alleged smuggling activity.
Davila was arrested last month in connection with his involvement in marijuana smuggling in September and October of 2005.
Ramos and Compean appealed their convictions to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. During their December 3 hearing, Judge E. Grady Jolly criticized the actions of the prosecution in the case, saying, "For some reason, this one got out of hand, it seems to me." It is not clear when the court will rule, and observers expect U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton to appeal the decision if the agents' convictions are overturned.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressman has already appealed to President Bush to commute the sentences of the agents.
"I am appalled and sickened by the President's heretofore obstinance and apparent preference to protecting the questionable rights of a foreign criminal juxtaposed to government agents and the citizenry that are charged with safeguarding," added Massie. "His failure to do so can only be viewed as a flagrant abrogation of support for the superior and dangerous work Americans in uniform are doing throughout the world to protect our freedom."
# # #
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.