Members and supporters of the N.H. Minuteman Civil Defense League carried out a peaceful demonstration March 3 in downtown Exeter.
The group was protesting the prosecution and inprisonment of two U.S. border agents for the February 2005 shooting of a drug-smuggling suspect as he fled across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Today the two men are in a federal penitentiary and the ordeal has raised many questions regarding U.S. policy toward illegal immigration and the methods of pursuing, detaining, and imprisoning illegal immigrants.
"We're here to bring attention to an injustice done. They put our own men in prison for doing their job," said Jim Jones, a Brentwood resident and Minuteman supporter. "Then they pardoned a criminal and granted him full immunity from prosecution."
On Feb. 15, 2005, in Fabens, Texas, U.S. Border Control Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were patrolling the border when they encountered and pursued a Mexican citizen. The pursuit ended with the non-fatal shooting. Agents Ramos and Compean were acquitted of an attempted murder charge but found guilty of discharging their firearms illegally. They were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively.
In downtown Exeter, protesters carried signs and handed out literature informing residents of the situation on the U.S.-Mexican border. Exeter resident Jim Knight dressed as a Colonial minuteman and held a sign demanding the release of Ramos and Compean.
"These men were denied their liberty and justice," said Knight. "They've been made a scapegoat for a poor policy on immigration. We want George Bush to pardon these men."
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