US Military Police are conducting less-lethal riot control training in preparation to support US Customs and Border Protection personnel along the border.
Soldiers of the 65th Military Police Company (Airborne), 503rd Military Police Battalion were spotted earlier this week conducting phalanx and less-lethal gas deployment as part of a less-lethal riot control training program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
While the training took place ar from the San Ysidro, California, where the majority of border violence has escalated, reports indicate that troops are being shuffled to the Golden State from other locations in the American southwest.
The Military Police in Arizona were seen learning how to smoothly execute riot control tactics, ranging from moving as a unified team with full riot gear as well as deploying CS gas with grenade launchers, M26 modular shotguns and “pepper ball” launchers. Leadership appeared to be armed with standard military sidearms.
The caravan crisis at the border seems to be coming to a head as federal officials begin revealing more information about the groups, which do not appear to be the “huddled masses of mostly women and children” frequently portrayed by the media.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently released a statement concerning the caravan, which was posted to the Department of Homeland Security’s Facebook page.
“The violence we saw at the border was entirely predictable,” Nielsen stated. “This caravan, unlike previous caravans, had already entered #Mexico violently and attacked border police in two other countries. I refuse to believe that anyone honestly maintains that attacking law enforcement with rocks and projectiles is acceptable. It is shocking that I have to explain this, but officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks. Self-defense isn’t debatable for most law-abiding Americans.”
Secretary Nielsen also reported that the caravan was “predominantly” made up of military-aged males, who were allegedly using the “limited number of women and children” as “human shields” when confronting law enforcement.
The caravan was also revealed to contain a significant number of individuals known for violent criminal acts.
“We cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country,” Nielsen said. “However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious. Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico.”
The use of less-lethal devices to deter would-be border crossers is nothing new. In fact, Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Agency has deployed tear gas over 126 times since 2010, with the majority being used from 2012 to 2016 at an average rate of once per month.
As the situation on the border heats up, one thing seems for certain- there is a very good chance that the US military might play a larger part than previously planned.
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