Border agent suspected of choking traveler

SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting a traveler at San Ysidro Port of Entry last month.

CBP Supervisory Officer Harvey Booker, 70, was taken into custody at his San Diego home early Wednesday morning and made his initial appearance in the case in federal court later in the day, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On July 8, Booker, while on duty, allegedly choked a person identified in court only as “M.N.,” resulting in “bodily injury,” court documents state. Further details about the purported assault — including the events that led to it and the extent of the alleged victim’s injuries — were not released.

“There is no excuse for law enforcement officials to abuse the significant trust and power placed in them,” San Diego-area U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. “Law enforcement takes great pride in protecting the civil rights of all people. When that trust is betrayed, we must hold that officer accountable.”

If convicted of a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law, Booker will face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to prosecutors.

Booker’s next court appearance in the case, a motions hearing, is scheduled for Sept. 7.