The photographer who witnessed the incident where horseback-mounted Border Patrol agents attempted to control Haitian migrants crossing the Rio Grande last week said he never saw agents whipping anyone. His photographs led to unfounded claims from many officials including President Joe Biden that agents were whipping or “strapping” the migrants with whips.
In an exclusive interview with KTSM NBC9 in El Paso, photographer Paul Ratje said he “didn’t ever see them (the agents) whip anybody. ” He was swinging it (the reins), but I didn’t see him actually whip someone with it.”
Ratje said the incident occurred when Haitian migrants attempted to run around the horses. He took the infamous photos that have “really been misconstrued” from the Mexican side of the river.
Among those who apparently misconstrued the images is the President of the United States. “To see people treated like they did, horses running them over and people getting strapped, it’s outrageous I promise you those people will pay,” the president said during a press conference on Friday.
One day earlier, the White House announced a policy banning the use of Border Patrol horses in the Del Rio Sector. “[W]e will no longer be using horses in Del Rio,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during the daily briefing.
Vice President Kamala Harris also turned against the Border Patrol agents who are currently under investigation. “I was outraged by it” the vice president said on ABC’s “The View”. “It was horrible and deeply troubling. There’s been now an investigation that is being conducted which I fully support, and there needs be consequences and accountability.”
Horse Patrol Units of the U.S. Border Patrol have a long history of carrying out migrants rescues in remote and hazardous terrains all along the southwest border. Breitbart Texas regularly reports on the rescues and apprehension of migrants and the seizure of drugs carried out by the men and women of the Border Patrol who serve on horseback.