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Jury acquits Border Patrol agent accused of abusing man

April 19, 2013|By Tony Perry

SAN DIEGO - After deliberating for several hours, a federal jury Friday acquitted a Border Patrol agent of choking an illegal immigrant during an arrest interview at the Imperial Beach station.

The case against Agent Luis Fonseca, a six-year veteran, rested largely on a grainy video without audio.  Video of the July 2011 incident appears to show Adolfo Ceja Escobar falling to the floor, his body convulsing.

Prosecutors alleged that Fonseca had placed his hands around Escobar's neck and choked him. But the defense attorney told jurors that Escobar was faking.

U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy said that she was disappointed in the jury's verdict, but "we believe it is our responsibility to stand up for the civil rights of everyone and felt this was an important case to bring."

Fonseca has been on unpaid leave since being indicted by a federal grand jury of using unreasonable force and abusing a suspect "under color of law."

tony.perry@latimes.com

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