Ex-Navy SEAL Who Sued Border Patrol over Wrongful Arrest Faces Countersuit

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A Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Chris Stone

A U.S. Border Patrol agent named in a lawsuit alleging he used excessive force during a confrontation with a former Navy SEAL jogging along the fence at the international boundary has filed a counterclaim seeking damages for his pain and suffering stemming from the incident.

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The counterclaim filed Friday by Border Patrol Agent Jodan Johnson is the first such lawsuit in San Diego in which a federal agent has sought compensation for medical costs, loss of earnings and pain and suffering, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The move came in response to a lawsuit filed last summer by Alton Jones, 57. Jones alleges that on Aug. 9, 2014, he was tackled “without any warning or justification” and hit on his back and around his neck by Border Patrol agents before one put his knee on his spine and twisted his arms behind his back after he jogged in Border Field State Park.

“Mr. Jones presented no threat to defendants’ safety and took no actions that would have led reasonable officers to fear for their safety,” according to his claim.

Jones said there was no signage along the path or the paved road on which he had been jogging indicating it was off-limits and no barriers were in place. Johnson’s counterclaim described the path as a restricted area that appears on a map of the park as a “reserve boundary,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Johnson’s suit alleged that Jones ignored warnings to stay off the paved road. Jones was allegedly blocked by agents, then took up a “fighting position” and charged toward Johnson and rammed him, which caused Johnson and other agents to fall to ground.

Jones was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a federal officer and spent the night in custody. He said he was denied an attorney and medical treatment for back, hip and shoulder pain, according to his lawsuit. He was never charged with a crime.

The former SEAL was alleging excessive use of force, violation of free speech, false imprisonment, battery by a peace officer, negligence and violation of the federal public records act and other claims, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The federal agent sought unspecified damages from Jones for medical costs and loss of earnings.

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Jones was being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, while Johnson was being represented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

—City News Service

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