Chinese tourist awarded $461K for 2004 border injury

Aug 9, 2017

After more than a decade of fighting, a judge has awarded $461,000 to a Chinese tourist who sued the U.S. government after being injured by a border agent at Niagara Falls more than a decade ago.

The Rochester judge found the government liable for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent's rough handling of Zhao Yan at a U.S.-Canada border crossing. Zhao had sought $10 million.

Acting U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said Monday's decision delivered the justice the government sought all along - even as it took seemingly contradictory positions of prosecuting the officer criminally, then defending him in the civil case.

Officer Robert Rhodes was acquitted of violating Zhao's civil rights as a border guard at the Rainbow Bridge in 2004. Rhodes' lawyer says the civil case could have been avoided if the government had backed Rhodes instead of charging him.