The photographer who captured photos that some said showed Border Patrol agents “whipping” Haitian migrants said he never actually saw agents “whipping” migrants and that his photos are being misinterpreted, according to KTSM.
Photographer Paul Ratje, who captured the shot of a Border Patrol agent on horseback in Del Rio, Texas grabbing a Haitian migrant by the shirt while his other hand held what appears to be a horse rein said he did not capture a migrant being whipped, according to KTSM. The photographer reportedly said neither him nor his colleagues saw the agents whip anyone and the photos have been misinterpreted.
NEW: The photographer who took the now infamous photos of mounted Border Patrol agents in Del Rio says he and his colleagues never saw agents whipping anyone and the photos are being misconstrued.
However, the false narrative is off and running. @FoxNews https://t.co/scwhoqOqYS
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 24, 2021
“Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,” he reportedly told the outlet.
“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” Ratje added. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
Video and pictures posted to social media appear to show Border Patrol agents herding their own horses and Haitian migrants who were trying to cross into the U.S. illegally. While none of the videos posted appear to show migrants being whipped, several on the left and in the media definitively claimed the migrants where whipped, despite no confirmation from either the White House or Department of Homeland Security.
Vice News declared agents were “whipping Haitian migrants” after the photos emerged. Vice claimed in-story the agents were simply “swinging whips” in the faces of migrants but stopped short of alleging the migrants were actually being whipped.
Border Patrol agents are whipping Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border in Texas.https://t.co/9sFNCds7Ur
— VICE News (@VICENews) September 20, 2021
MSNBC host Joy Reid said agents were given “whips, which come from the slave era” to “use on humans.”
Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters said Wednesday the images were “worse than what we witnessed in slavery.”
“Cowboys with their reins in hand whipping black people, Haitians, into the water where they’re scrambling and falling down.”
A border patrol agent told Fox News the alleged “whips” were actual horse reins. (RELATED: Horseback Border Patrol Agents Accused Of Whipping Migrants With Reins Reassigned To Desk Duties)
“We do not carry whips and the only thing I see in their hands is reins,” the agent reportedly said.
“Whips are not issues or authorized for use.”
Another Border Patrol source told Townhall that agents spin their reins to keep migrants away from the horses, which could trample and possibly injure migrants.
Despite the lack of clarification, the White House announced Thursday horses would be banned from use in Del Rio after the allegations of “whipping” went viral.
President Joe Biden said Friday that agents accused of “whipping” the migrants “will pay” and that “there will be consequences.”
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the allegations.