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Border Patrol pics were ‘misconstrued’ as whipping, photographer says

The photographer who captured the controversial images of Border Patrol agents using horses to keep Haitian migrants from entering the US says the images have been “misconstrued” as showing abusive behavior. The agents depicted in the photos have been accused of using their horses’ reins to whip the migrants to prevent them from crossing the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas. An investigation into the situation is ongoing but photographer Paul Ratije says he never saw the agents whip anyone. “Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses, and that’s kind of when the whole thing happened.” he told KTSM. “I didn’t ever see them whip anybody, with the thing,” he said of the reins. “He was swinging it. But I didn’t see him actually take — whip someone with it. That’s something that can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.” The photos, which emerged on Monday, drew extreme backlash from lawmakers and the White House, which called the images “horrible and horrific.” On Friday, President Biden took it further, saying the federal agents involved “will pay” for their actions. “It was horrible what you see, what you saw — to see people treated like they did, with horses barely running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous, I promise you, those people will pay,” Biden said at the White House in response to a reporter’s question. “There’s an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences. It’s an embarrassment. It’s beyond an embarrassment. It’s dangerous. It’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world. It sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.” The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the incident and the agents involved have been placed on administrative duty and are no longer in direct contact with migrants at the border.

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