Liberal Protesters Storm Border Patrol Museum, Deface Pictures of Fallen Agents
Demonstrators who defaced property before refusing to vacate the grounds
The U.S. Border Patrol museum near El Paso was invaded by dozens of demonstrators who defaced property before refusing to vacate the grounds, according to the site's top official.
Staff and guests became fearful of their safety after the 50 strong groups stormed the facility and began defacing pictures of fallen border officers, Museum director David Ham told the Washington Examiner.
"Say it loud, say it clear, Border Patrol kills!" group members standing inside and outside the facility screamed
Security cameras captured protesters pulling into the parking with their faces covered before entering the facility at 2:15 pm local time as they began their rampage.
"That was really intimidating to our staff, plus their kind of aggressive attitude," said the museum official, a 31-year veteran of the Border Patrol.
Ham said he was informed of the incident in a call from an "upset" staff member who was at the museum at the time.
"We have cameras, and we saw them gathering in the parking lot. We saw them come to the museum, and she had called 911. I was able to watch the cameras on my cellphone. They came in after putting masks on," Ham said.
"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," Ham said.
"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."
Ham said visitors were given refuge at the back of the gift shop so they could hide until police arrived.
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).— Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent (@JOwensUSBP) February 17, 2019
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the hypocrisy of their actions...🙄 pic.twitter.com/VUmMmwAIqO
The protest group, which calls themselves Tornillo: The Occupation, live-streamed the protest revealing many with their faces covered with garments.
According to the groups Facebook page, it was "exposing the true violence of borders and border patrol" amid the deaths of two Guatemalan children after being taken into custody by federal agents.
The protesters then proceeded to plaster dozens of images on pictures throughout the building.
They also posted images of the faces of Border Patrol agents who died in the line of duty.
According to the Washington Examiner: The pictures showed three children, including Jakelin Caal.
The 7-year-old died hours after illegally entering the United States near Antelope Wells, N.M., and an autopsy cited sepsis, a blood condition she would have had before being taken into custody, as the reason for her death.
Ham said the pictures had an adhesive on the back of them that was stronger than normal tape.
"It’s very hard to remove. 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," said Ham.
"I know it’s peeled the paint off some of our walls."
Ham said police are investigating the incident, and an insurance adjuster will visit the museum Monday to estimate the amount of damage the group caused.
Because of the museum's remote location on federal land, military police from Fort Bliss responded to 911 calls. Once the protesters were outside the museum, police detained everyone on site and took down their information.
"BREAKING: Military police have blockaded our people at the Border Patrol Museum after our Nonviolent action to tell the true story of violence behind borders and those who patrol them. ... After demanding everyone's IDs, collecting personal information, and looking for warrants and immigration status, the military police have let our people go from the Border Patrol Museum parking lot," a group member wrote on Facebook.