A former Border Patrol agent was sentenced Nov. 20 to three months of probation and 150 hours of community service – but no prison time – for chasing and knocking down an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala with his service vehicle near the Mariposa Port of Entry.
Matthew Bowen, 39, had faced up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 under the terms of the plea agreement he signed in August to avoid trial. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro opted for no prison, no fine and a special assessment fee of $25 when he sentenced Bowen for the misdemeanor offense of violating his victim’s constitutional rights while acting under governmental authority.
On Dec. 3, 2017, Border Patrol surveillance cameras were rolling as a man later identified as a 23-year-old Guatemalan citizen tried to avoid apprehension by running toward the Mariposa port. Bowen chased him in his truck, striking him twice with the front of his Ford F-150 service vehicle.
According to motion filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the victim was later taken to the hospital for treatment of “abrasions on several parts of his body where he hit the ground, as well as pain in his back where he was hit by the truck.”
According to court documents, a pre-sentence report prepared by the Probation Department at U.S. District Court recommended that Bowen serve six months behind bars for the offense, citing as “aggravation” six previous instances of poor behavior that occurred between 2012 and 2015.
Five of the events involved alleged physical abuse, including one incident in which he transported a handcuffed detainee on the front of an ATV, then slammed on the brakes, injuring the person by launching them forward.