Photographer says viral border patrol photo was misconstrued, nobody was whipped
By Cassie B. // Sep 28, 2021

The photographer who snapped controversial pictures of Border Patrol agents on horses stopping Haitian migrants from entering the United States has said that his images were “misconstrued.”


When the photos emerged last week, some accused the agents in the photos of using their horses’ reins to whip the migrants in an attempt to stop them from crossing the Rio Grande into Texas.

The photos drew significant backlash last week from lawmakers as well as the White House, who called them “horrible and horrific.” President Biden stated on Friday that the federal agents involved in the incident would pay for their actions.

However, the photographer, Paul Ratje, has stated that he and his colleagues never saw agents whip anybody with the reins and that the agents were responding to Haitian men who were trying to run around their horses.

It appears they were twirling their reins in an attempt to coax the horses in a particular direction, yet many have been eager to accuse the agents of intentionally whipping migrants.

Ratje told El Paso NBC affiliate 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.”

Nevertheless, the agents involved have been placed on administrative duty and are no longer working in direct contact with migrants.

President Biden said: “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.”

Several former border officials and agents have told the media that that whirling motion depicted appears to be a tactic used to steer horses rather than whip humans. Rowdy Ballard, who served as Del Rio’s horse coordinator and a horseback Border Patrol agent for 17 years, told Fox News that “It’s a bunch of BS,” adding that they do not even carry whips. He added that agents rarely lay a hand on anyone, unless they are not compliant.

Now, the use of DHS horse patrols has been paused, and it’s something that Ballard believes is going to make it harder to patrol the area.

"It's frustrating for the guys in the field as well. I mean, they were asked to do a job and they did it to the best of their abilities. And now… they're suffering the whiplash from this," he told the news outlet.

Haitian migrants have been flooding Del Rio recently in search of asylum in the United States. It's estimated that as many as 15,000 Haitian migrants were camping under the Del Rio international bridge recently. The Department of Homeland security has said that more than 5,800 of the migrants have been removed from the Del Rio camp so far but failed to specify the number who have been released into the United States. However, it is known that nearly 2000 of those who were removed have been returned to Haiti on a series of deportation flights that will continue on a regular basis.

Radio silence from media “fact checkers” on photo’s misinterpretation

Liberal media fact checkers have not yet exposed the false claims that agents were whipping the migrants at the southern border. None of the fact checkers at USA Today, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC News or Snopes have addressed the whipping claims, Fox News reported.

That’s not surprising; it’s far more convenient for the left to use the photo as another opportunity for virtue signaling and continue to let the public misconstrue it even when the photographer himself has said in no uncertain terms that the alleged whipping never actually happened.

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