On Wednesday, a former border patrol agent was sentenced to three years probation for intentionally hitting a migrant with an agency pickup truck.
The judge in the case said he gave Matthew Bowen, a former agent in Nogales, Arizona, three years probation rather than the recommended six-month jail sentence plus a year of supervised release so that he can “remember the case” and not easily put it behind him, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
On December 3, 2017, Bowen chased and hit Antolin Lopez Aguilar, a 23-year-old Guatemalan man who crossed the border illegally, with his vehicle while attempting to make an arrest.
Bowen, a 10-year border patrol veteran, admitted to “aggressively” accelerating his F-150 pickup and striking Lopez twice. The man was handcuffed and taken to a Nogales hospital with injuries to his right hand and both knees. The next day, he was sentenced to 30 days in federal prison.
Bowen’s name later made headlines when it was revealed that the former agent had a history of making xenophobic comments. According to the Daily Mail, various offensive text messages were filed in court that showed the man referring to immigrants as “disgusting subhuman s**** unworthy of being kindling for a fire,” “beaners” and discussing frying them in olive oil. In another message, he referenced the president, saying, “PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!.”
In June 2018, after Bowen, 39, was indicted, he was placed on indefinite suspension without pay. He later resigned as part of a plea agreement.
At court this week, the man said he was proud to serve as a Border Patrol agent and apologized for charging at Lopez.
“I’m thankful that he was not seriously injured, and I would like to apologize to the victim sincerely,” he said.
Lopez wasn’t in court, but his attorney Monica Ryan said at the sentencing that the man, who thought he was going to die when the truck chased after him, has not been able to continue physical therapy because he can’t afford it. She asked for 90 days to submit evidence of lost wages and details of injuries she claimed have prevented the man from working.
In addition to Bowen’s three years of probation, he is also required to complete 150 hours of community service and pay the victim restitution that will be finalized in the coming months.