Stephen Dinan
March 7, 2014

U.S. Border Patrol agents can still use deadly force to respond to rock-throwing attacks along the border, even though they must take care in assessing whether their lives are in danger, Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher said in a new directive Friday.

The guidance comes at a time when Border Patrol agents are under scrutiny for their response to rock-throwing instances along the U.S.-Mexico border, which had resulted in several deaths when agents have fired back with their service firearms.

Critics have argued that there is no reason to shoot back at those throwing rocks, while agents and their defenders argue that the rocks are often small boulders that could kill or seriously injure someone.

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