The founder of the Minuteman Project may soon announce a citizens’ investigation commission to look into the prosecution of two former Border Patrol agents now in prison for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican drug runner in Texas.
Jim Gilchrist has joined the chorus of grassroots groups and lawmakers to push President Bush to pardon the two agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. Gilchrest later on Monday may hold a press conference in El Paso to vocalize his group's concern with the case and to outline plans for the commission.
"We cannot stand idly by if border agents are railroaded, so in addition to our work of monitoring border activities, we are establishing a citizens’ investigation commission to look into this Ramos/Compean situation, starting with a thorough review of the federal attorney’s procedures and motivations," said Gilchrist, who started the Minuteman Project originally push for more immigration law enforcement. "We believe that federal attorney Johnny Sutton was, at the least, overzealous in his prosecution of these agents."
Compean and Ramos are behind bars for shooting at fleeing drug dealer Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila then trying to cover up the incident. The two were convicted by a jury last year and are now serving their time at two separate federal prisons. Aldrete-Davila was given immunity for his testimony against the two agents — both of whom say they were just doing their jobs.
Gilchrist and other supporters of the two agents argue that Sutton improperly prosecuted the case and that evidence may have been withheld. Sutton, on the other hand, has maintained that there was more than enough evidence to show that the two men shot at Aldrete-Davila while he was running away from them, and that he likely did not have a weapon.
Supporters of the two ex-agents say even if the two men are guilty of these actions, they do not deserve to spend 11 and 12 years in prison. The two are currently appealing their punishment
"These men could have fled, but they didn’t," Gilchrist said in a statement. "At the very least, they should be out on bail pending appeal. They certainly shouldn’t be mixed in with the prisoners they or their fellow Border Patrol agents put there."
Tancredo and nearly 100 other Congress members are currently seeking a congressional pardon for Compean and Ramos, in hopes that it pushes Bush to do the same. The president has said he would review the case, once it gets sent to his desk from the Justice Department with that agency's pardon recommendations.
"Our members from around the nation are disgusted with a government which ignores its duty to secure our borders, then grants Constitutional rights to illegal non-citizens and persecutes the people who risk their lives to protect us," Gilchrist said.
FOXNews.com's Kevin McCarthy contributed to this report.