Re: Protesters call for agents' freedom
Protesters call for agents' freedom
Web Posted: 07/01/2007 12:13 AM CDTWaving American flags and chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A.," protestors angry about the imprisonment of two U.S. Border Patrol agents rallied Saturday, demanding the release of the men and calling for the dismissal of the prosecutor who handled the case.The demonstration drew about 200 activists to the office lawn of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the top prosecutor for the Western District of Texas who won the convictions last year and has become a main target of groups fighting for tighter immigration controls."We're here because we have Border Patrol patriots who have been caught up in a political process and they're not being treated fairly," said Pat Byrne, deputy director for the Texas chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, one of the event organizers.The agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, are both serving more than 10 years in prison for shooting at a suspected drug smuggler as he ran away from them. Although a jury rejected the agents' claim that the suspect had a gun, supporters contend that Compean and Ramos were convicted for simply doing their jobs.Turnout for the rally, at San Pedro Avenue and U.S. 281, fell far short of a forecast crowd of several hundred. But what the activists lacked in numbers they made up for with impassioned speeches, including one that hinted at violence.David Marlett of Dallas climbed into the back of a white pickup and told the crowd that there are "four kinds of boxes — the soap box, the jury box, the ballot box and the cartridge box."