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Tohono O’odham Nation: 'We stand by the Mattia family, and all O’odham citizens in seeking justice'

Official statement asks 'Where in America is it okay for law enforcement officials...to take an unarmed man’s life?'
Posted at 12:21 PM, Oct 13, 2023

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney's Office made a decision to not prosecute Border Patrol Agents in the death of Raymond Mattia, a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, according to the Mattia family's attorney Ryan Stitt.

In a statement Friday, Verlon Jose and Carla Johnson—Chair and Vice Chair of the Tohono O’odham Nation—released a statement decrying the U.S. Attorney's decision, citing bodycam footage released by Customs and Border Protection as sufficient evidence for a trial.

Border Patrol Agents, reportedly responding to reports of gunfire, were captured on body camera shooting Mattia multiple times, ultimately killing him outside his home on the reservation east of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument back in May, reports say.

Stitt told KGUN 9 earlier this week that not all details of the case have been released by the U.S. government to the Tohono O'odham Nation nor to the family.

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged that the Border Patrol agents made statements to the FBI, but they refused to reveal the details of those statements. And they further refused to answer the family’s questions stating that the meeting was not the appropriate time," Stitt said in a statement.

Jose and Johnson say in the statement they plan to pursue further action related to the case, and indicated they may choose to take legal action or request Congressional inquiries for additional answers in Mattia's case.

"Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation should not have to worry that their lives could be randomly cut short by federal agents acting on Tohono O’odham sovereign land," reads the statement. "In Mr. Mattia’s case, he was not only on O’odham land, but at his own home, and defenseless."

Full statement:

Days following the shooting in May, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-7) urged Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to limit the involvement of CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility in reviewing the case.

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