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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tohono O' odham mother seeks justice

A thanks to one of our readers for sending us this story.

Tohono O'odham seeks justice for her son run over by border patrol
Posted: May 01, 2006
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today
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Brenda Norrell Indian Country -- Angie Ramon's son, 18-year-old Bennett Patricio Jr., Tohono O'odham, was run over and killed by a Border Patrol agent as the youth walked home one night on tribal land in 2002. Incidents surrounding her son's death produced more questions than answers and resulted in a civil lawsuit filed by Ramon and other family members in federal court. The case is now on appeal.
SELLS, Ariz. - Tohono O'odham Angelita Reino Ramon is fighting a lonely battle as she seeks justice for her son, 18-year-old Bennett Patricio Jr., who was run over and killed by U.S. Border Patrol Agent Cody Rouse on April 9, 2002.

In the beginning, Ramon was prepared to accept her son's death as an accident and she waited for the Border Patrol to come to her home and apologize.

The apology never came. Instead, there were more questions than answers as to what really happened in the desert that night.

Ramon and family members filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Tucson and alleged that Rouse was negligent. However, in February, the court ruled in favor of the United States. Ultimately, even the Tohono O'odham Legislative Council failed to support the family when it requested funds for an attorney to file an appeal.

''No one is helping us,'' Ramon told Indian Country Today.

The U.S. District Court ordered the family to pay $6,254 for court costs, documents and mileage. Even Ramon's own attorney urged her to accept the federal government's deal to waive court costs in exchange for the family agreeing not to appeal the case.

However, against all odds, Ramon refused the deal, found another attorney and filed an appeal in federal court. full article

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