Guatemalan Man Intentionally Hit With Border Patrol Truck Says He's Thankful For 'Racist' Agent's Sentencing

Antolín López Aguilar, the man who was intentionally struck by a Border Patrol agent's truck in 2017, says he is still suffering from his injuries and has struggled to return to work in the years since the incident.

López Aguilar was believed to have been fleeing from the Border Patrol when agent Matthew Bowen intentionally hit him with his truck during the pursuit.

Earlier this month, Bowen was sentenced to three years of probation. He had described immigrants as "subhuman" and "mindless murdering savages" in text messages sent just weeks before the incident.

Speaking in an interview with Univision, which has been translated from Spanish to English, López Aguilar said he was "happy" to hear about the sentencing. "He thought he was going to kill me," he said. "I felt the death."

"He was a racist and he does not consider Guatemalans as human beings, as if we were animals," López Aguilar said. "I feel happy for the sentence."

However, in the months since the incident, the Guatemalan said he has struggled to get back to work as a gardener due to his physical injuries.

"On my back, I have damaged intervertebral discs. Also, my arms hurt," he said. Sometimes he is only able to work three days a week due to the pain, López Aguilar said.

Bowen had pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law, which is a misdemeanor, in August, according to The New York Times.

In addition to hitting López Aguilar with his vehicle, Bowen was also accused of filing a false report about the incident, claiming that he had been unfamiliar with the acceleration of the vehicle he was driving and that he wasn't entirely certain if the truck had actually struck the Guatemalan man.

The former Border Patrol agent had been facing up to one year in prison, as well as a $100,000 fine. However, instead of prison time, Judge Thomas Ferraro of the U.S. District Court in Tucson sentenced Bowen to 36 months of probation, as well as 150 hours of community service.

The judge also demanded that Bowen pay López's medical costs, according to The Times. It is unclear whether the extent of those costs and what Bowen will be expected to pay has been determined.

Ferraro had reportedly determined that the sentencing was just as the incident had unfolded during a time of "turmoil" at the border and given that the assault was "only one incident" in Bowen's 11-year record with the Border Patrol.

Border Patrol truck
A border patrol truck guards next to border fencing in the city of Tijuana on January 17, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico. A man who was intentionally hit by a Border Patrol agent's truck says he is still suffering from his injuries. Spencer Platt/Getty