Anti-border control protesters were out in force once again, this time shamelessly defacing pictures of fallen agents who died in the line of duty. A privately-owned border patrol museum near El Paso, Texas was the scene of this latest show of disrespect as the group, which calls itself Tornillo: The Occupation, stormed the building and frightened the visitors.
The courageous group was first seen on security cameras gathering outside in the parking lot to bravely put on face masks.
“That was really intimidating to our staff, plus their kind of aggressive attitude,” a museum official and 31-year veteran of the Border Patrol told the Washington Examiner.
Another staff member, David Ham, who was not at the museum at the time of the incident, said he received a phone call from an upset staffer describing the event:
“They proceeded to set up a bunch of signs and just went all over the museum. They of course had an agenda, they were chanting and singing songs, and then a couple of them got on a bullhorn. We had visitors in the museum. They started talking and kind of harassing them. Of course the staff was asking them to leave, and they wouldn’t leave.”
Guests of the museum were led to the back of the gift shop to hide until police could arrive while a group of about 50 people yelled: “Say it loud, say it clear, Border Patrol kills!”
On its Facebook post, the group posted a video that they live-streamed during the incident.
The group called the protest action “Reclaiming the border patrol museum and exposing the true violence of borders and border patrol.” Members claim they’re “exposing the true violence of borders and border patrol,” and cite two deaths of Guatemalan children in December. They posted pictures around the museum, covering mannequins, the walls, and the faces in any pictures of Border Patrol agents who died while protecting our country.
Yesterday, masked protestors “occupied & reclaimed” (whatever that means) the #BorderPatrol museum (non-profit entity run by volunteers) & defaced our fallen agent memorial (a very sacred monument).
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the hypocrisy of their actions…🙄 pic.twitter.com/VUmMmwAIqO
— Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent (@JOwensUSBP) February 17, 2019
Ham said the adhesive tape used by the group was stronger than regular tape and peeled the paint from the walls when taken down. “It’s very hard to remove,” he said. “They [staff] tried to remove some and they tear off. We’ve got antique cars, old Border Patrol vehicles, and an aircraft. We’re kind of worried it’s going to peel the paint off.”
The museum is in a remote location on federal land, so military police from Fort Bliss responded to the 911 calls. They detained the group members temporarily and took down their information, but no arrests were made. However, an investigation has been opened, and insurance adjusters are assessing the damage.
Ham vowed to see them prosecuted in a Facebook post: “Today a group of protesters invaded the Border Patrol Museum and defaced all of our exhibits including our sacred Memorial Room. Efforts to prosecute them will be pursued once damage is assessed. This angers me greatly.”
Putting on masks and storming a building, frightening innocent people, and defacing property are more than just acts of civil disobedience; they form a calculated ploy to terrify people, cause damages, and create chaos.