The Associated Press on Friday released video footage of the now-viral incident between a mounted Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent and a Haitian migrant, which some claimed depicted the border patrol agent whipping the migrant.
AP reporter Sarah Blake Morgan, who said she was at the Rio Grande River, where groups of Haitian migrants have been attempting to enter the U.S. in recent weeks, shared the video on Twitter. The footage seems to indicate the whips are in fact reins, a claim that has since been corroborated by others.
Sorting through my footage from the border. I was in the river during the viral incident between a Haitian migrant and mounted CBP agent. It’s shaky – but here’s what I captured. pic.twitter.com/fnvxSU83tO
— Sarah Blake Morgan (@StorytellerSBM) September 24, 2021
Democrats and corporate media outlets have purported since Monday that border patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants at the southern border, after video and pictures emerged of agents riding on horseback with seemingly long reins.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Tuesday she condemns the “horrible” treatment of Haitian migrants and supports an investigation into the supposed whipping. President Joe Biden later said Friday the footage was “beyond an embarrassment” for the U.S. and added that the accused agents “will pay” for whipping migrants. (RELATED: Psaki Says Horses Won’t Be Used In Del Rio Following Outrage Over Alleged ‘Whipping’)
The claim that CBP agents were whipping Haitian migrants at the border has been disputed by multiple sources. A border patrol agent told Fox News that whips “are not issued or authorized for use” and it was implausible that “a horse patrol unit would be whipping aliens.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed during a Monday press conference that agents were using long reins to control their horses, noting the agents in question had been reassigned to desk duties pending a DHS investigation into the matter.
“And there, the horses have long reins,” Mayorkas reiterated at a White House press briefing Friday.
Kerr Wardlaw, a sixth-generation rancher and horse expert, told KTSM that the agents who appeared to be swinging their horse reins in the air were actually using them as a tool to quickly move the rear end of the horse from left to right.
He also told the local outlet the border patrol agent depicted in the original photograph reached for the migrant only after that migrant tried to gain control of the horse.