A Border Patrol agent is positioned by the border fence. Photo by Chris Stone

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer who used excessive force on a person who had applied for admission to the United States pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal misdemeanor count of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Esaul Bello, 53, of San Diego, also agreed to resign from his post and terminate his security clearance, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 2. The maximum penalty Bello faces is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, prosecutors said.

During the course of a Nov. 26, 2018, inspection at the Calexico Port of Entry, Bello put both hands around the neck of a person identified only as J.A. in court documents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the individual did not offer any physical resistance, yet Bello shook the victim, violated the person’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure and the unreasonable use of force.

U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer called it “a rare and troubling situation.”

“We will always move swiftly to protect the public from officers who use their power to violate another person’s constitutional rights,” he said

— City News Service

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