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U.S. undertakes review of border officers' use of force

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border patrolCustoms and Border Protection has launched what it calls a comprehensive review of its officers' use of force amid a sharp increase in fatal confrontations along the Southwest border. The initiative, which appears to be the most far-reaching of its kind in recent years, calls for an assessment of current tactics and the participation of an independent outside research center.

Mexican government officials, who have condemned the shootings, also will be provided briefings on closed investigations involving force, according to a memorandum prepared for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The memorandum, dated Oct., 24, 2012, is from David V. Aguilar, the agency's deputy commissioner.

Since 2010, 16 people have been killed in fatal confrontations with Border Patrol agents and customs officers, prompting unprecedented levels of scrutiny and criticism from some U.S. Congress members and border activists. Agency guidelines permit agents to fire weapons against people suspected of throwing rocks, a practice that critics consider excessive.

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