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Photographer who took pictures of mounted border agents says they did not whip migrants

The photographer who took controversial photos at the Texas border says that the images have been dramatically misinterpreted.

Despite hysterical accusations that mounted Border Patrol agents chased migrants with whips, photographer Paul Ratje says that he saw nothing of the sort at the border in Del Rio on Sunday.

‘I’ve never seen them whip anyone,’ Ratje told KTSM-TV. The still images actually depict the mounted agents swinging the long reins of their horses, not holding whips.

‘He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture,’ said Ratje, who shot the photos from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande river. 

The photos drew condemnation from Biden and around the world, but the photographer now says that they do not depict whipping as some have claimed 

The photographer who took controversial photos at the Texas border says that the images have been dramatically misinterpreted

The photographer who took controversial photos at the Texas border says that the images have been dramatically misinterpreted

Photographer Paul Ratje (above) says that he did not witness whipping at the border

Photographer Paul Ratje (above) says that he did not witness whipping at the border

The photos were taken as thousands of Haitian migrants poured across the border illegally at Del Rio, believing that the Biden administration would not deport them

The photos were taken as thousands of Haitian migrants poured across the border illegally at Del Rio, believing that the Biden administration would not deport them 

The photos were taken as thousands of Haitian migrants poured across the border illegally at Del Rio, with up to 15,000 crammed into a squalid camp there at the peak of the crisis. 

‘Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,’ Ratje explained of his photos. 

Ratje is a photographer based in Las Cruces and has been in Del Rio since Friday. His photos drew international criticism for the Border Patrol after they were distributed worldwide by AFP. 

Critics said the images from were reminiscent of both cowboys attempting to herd livestock and times in history when horse-mounted police, prison guards or slave owners used whips against black people. 

The incident prompted widespread outrage and is under investigation. The agents have been assigned to administrative duties and the Department of Homeland Security said it has suspended the use of horses in Del Rio. 

President Joe Biden on Friday reacted to the photos, saying it was ‘horrible’ to see the way agents used horses block people from crossing the Rio Grande and he promised that ‘people will pay’ as a result.

He claimed the photos showed migrants being ‘strapped’, a term for flogging someone with a strip of leather.

'I've never seen them whip anyone,' Ratje said. The still images actually depict the mounted agents swinging the long reins of their horses

‘I’ve never seen them whip anyone,’ Ratje said. The still images actually depict the mounted agents swinging the long reins of their horses

'Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,' Ratje explained

‘Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,’ Ratje explained

The photos drew international criticism for the Border Patrol after they were distributed worldwide by AFP

The photos drew international criticism for the Border Patrol after they were distributed worldwide by AFP

‘It was horrible, what you saw to see them treat people like they did — horses running them over, people being strapped. It’s outrageous,’ Biden told reporters. 

‘Those people will pay, there´s an investigation underway now and there will be consequences,’ he said. 

‘It’s an embarrassment, but it’s beyond an embarrassment – it’s dangerous, it’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world and sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are,’ Biden added.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended his department after the images went viral. 

The images ‘do not reflect who we are as a country, nor do they reflect who the United States Customs and Border Protection is,’ Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee.

‘I have ordered an investigation to be conducted of the events that are captured in those images,’ he said.

‘The facts will drive the actions that we take, we ourselves will pull no punches,’ he said, promising a result ‘In days and not weeks.’

Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday compared images to the brutality of slavery.

President Joe Biden vowed the border agents on horseback who chased migrants trying to cross the Southern border will 'pay'

President Joe Biden vowed the border agents on horseback who chased migrants trying to cross the Southern border will ‘pay’ 

'Human beings should not be treated that way and as we all know it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history,' VP Kamala Harris said on ABC's 'The View' when asked about border agents using horses to push back Haitian immigrants

‘Human beings should not be treated that way and as we all know it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history,’ VP Kamala Harris said on ABC’s ‘The View’ when asked about border agents using horses to push back Haitian immigrants

Harris went beyond earlier comments labeling the treatment ‘horrible,’ during an appearance on ABC’s ‘ The View ,’ after agents photographed seeking to corral Haitian immigrants pulled back to the office amid an investigation.

‘Well, first of all, I’ve been very clear about the images that you and I both saw of those law enforcement officials on horses – I was outraged by it. It was horrible and and deeply troubling. There’s been now an investigation that has been conducted, which I fully support and there needs to be consequences and accountability.’

Harris, the nation’s first black vice president, continued: ‘Human beings should not be treated that way and as we all know it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history, where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country.’ 

‘Has been used against African Americans during times of slavery, and so I’m glad to know that that [Alejandro] Mayorkas the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is taking it very seriously,’ she said. 


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