Uniformed law enforcement posed for a photograph pretending to climb one of the border wall prototypes, their actions caught on video by a California college student on the Mexico side.
Three officers, who appear to be with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), can be seen near one of the prototypes east of Otay Mesa Port of Entry soon after President Donald Trump's visit to the restricted area this week.
One officer puts his hands up on the wall and raises his foot while a second officer poses as if he's giving the officer a hand climbing up the wall. The third officer appears to be using a phone to capture the picture.
U.S. & World
Jaciel Ortega, a student at Scripps College in Claremont, California was in Mexico on a school trip for her "US-Mexico Border" class.
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She told Telemundo 20 she was at the wall at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday after the president had toured the prototypes with federal and local law enforcement officers blocking the public's access to the area.
When she noticed the officers laughing and joking around, she began recording them, she said.
Ortega said the officers looked in her direction and appeared to notice they were being recorded but, she said, they didn't say anything to her.
She posted the video on Instagram shortly after taking it with a caption that read in part, "these are the officers that are on the streets terrorizing communities of color." In the two days it's been up users have commented on it nearly 200 times -- some calling it an offensive joke while others brush off the actions as harmless.
I was at the border wall ‘prototypes’ today after 45’s visit. This is the shit I peeped over the wall... On a day so full of protest and pain this is what the San Diego Police Department was doing. These are the officers that are on the streets terrorizing communities of color. Seeing this was nothing new but it was a reminder to broaden how we talk about immigration policy, especially in California. So much attention is focused on 45 without acknowledging the long standing structural issues that affect immigrants in this state. California likes to distance itself as a “sanctuary state” in standing against Trump’s policies but these men were officers before 45’s inauguration and will continue to be officers after a new bobble-head takes office. California’s ‘liberal’ policy also needs to be consistently CHECKED!
"That's just silly. I don't even know why people are talking about that," San Diegan Alex Woods told NBC 7. "It's people having fun at their jobs."
Local student Brandon Lumberas shares the opinion of several Instagram users who commented on Ortega's post that the photo opportunity was disgusting, ignorant and unacceptable, among other things.
"Some Mexicans, we do things right. So we have the visa, we have the other papers right. But some Mexicans don't do that because they have a money emergency, an economic emergency, so that's offensive for us," Lumberas said.
When NBC 7 reached out to the SDPD to get some information regarding the officers' actions and why they were in the restricted area near the prototypes, Officer Bill Hernandez said, "We were just made aware of this and [are] currently looking into the incident."
SDPD did not confirm that the officers are with the department.