Matthew Bowen, a Border Patrol agent accused of running over a Guatemalan migrant in southern Arizona and then lying about it, is slated to go to trial later this month.
Bowen’s trial comes after prosecutors in Arizona twice failed to win a conviction against another agent, Lonnie Swartz, who fatally shot a teenager through the border fence.
At the heart of the case against Bowen lies a series of text messages prosecutors say he sent before and after the alleged attack. One read: “guys are being made to think any use of force results in you being investigated and so they are letting tonks get away with too much.” The word tonk is a slur for migrants.
Rachel York Colangelo, with the juror consulting firm Magna Legal Services, says those text messages will impact the jury.
“Text messages such as the one you’ve seen in this case show a level of aggression and a certain mindset of the agent that belies the sort of story line of acting on the defensive and an innocent accident happening,” she said.
Defense attorneys are asking the judge to push back the trial date so they can review other evidence.
This piece originally appeared on 91.5 KJZZ on August 2, 2019.