The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez

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In 1997, a group of United States Marines had been assigned to help guard the border between Texas and Mexico, looking for smugglers as part of the federal government's ongoing war on drugs. While on patrol, one of the Marines shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez Jr., mistaking him for a border jumper while the young man tended his family's goats. Hernandez had the dubious distinction of becoming the first American citizen to be killed by U.S. military forces on domestic soil since the Kent State shootings in 1970, and filmmaker Kieran Fitzgerald explores Hernandez's tragic death and its long aftermath in the documentary The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez. The film features interviews with Hernandez's parents and friends, members of the Marine battalion who were on patrol that day, FBI agents who investigated the killing, and government agents and civilians who discuss the strained relations between the United States and Mexico, the effects of the War on Drugs, the use of military forces for domestic patrols, and how these factors contributed to one man's death. Narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez received its world premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

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