The Rev. Jesse Jackson led a prayer vigil Sunday at the site where two Mexican citizens were beaten by sheriff’s deputies in an attack caught on videotape.
“I know that we must have border checks, and with that conflict there must be due process, but there was no justification for the brutal beating; for the officers to take the law into their own hands,” Jackson said after leading some 60 people in a “Stop the Violence Prayer.”
The 18 men and one woman detained after the beatings were illegal immigrants from rural Mexico, who said they came to seek work. Authorities said the deputies chased the immigrants’ truck 80 miles to Los Angeles County after it ran an immigration checkpoint in Temecula.
Riverside County Sheriff Larry Smith said last Wednesday that the beatings were “clearly an excessive use of force,” and promised a full investigation.
Deputies Tracy Watson and Kurtis Franklin were suspended with pay pending investigations.
The two immigrants who were beaten - Alicia Sotero Vazquez and Enrique Funes Flores - were released from an undisclosed hospital Friday.
On Saturday near the Temecula checkpoint, seven suspected illegal immigrants were killed and 19 injured when the pickup truck the men were riding in overturned as it was followed by U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Four makeshift crosses were erected at the crash site. One memorial at the ditch where the truck landed consisted of rocks in the shape of a cross. Three other standing crosses were placed amid wreckage.