Three US Border and Customs agents have come forward alleging that their colleagues within Newark Airport’s Passenger Enforcement Roving Team verbally harassed and physically assaulted them during hazing rituals. “Hazing wouldn’t do this justice. This is complete assault. They take you in a room and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you,” officer Vito Degironimo told NBC New York.
“Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table and one officer actually ends up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse,” he said. “They called the table itself the rape table, and call this act ‘raping.’”
In another alleged incident, Officer Diana Cifuentes described an officer taping her to a chair. “He said, ‘You deserve to be put on the rape table.’ And that’s when he started chasing me. … [Eventually] I was held down by another officer and one additional officer taped me with green customs tape to the chair,” she said. Later, in the office, an officer pulled a gun on her. “I took a deep breath and kept on typing like nothing was happening. I know that if I reacted either he was going to pull the trigger or I was going to draw the weapon myself and shoot him,” she said.
Officer Dan Arencibia, who narrowly avoided an attack, said the officers play Jackass theme song “The Party Boy Song” during the assaults. “They’re monsters in a sense. They know that we can’t do anything about this.”
NBC New York reported that a lawyer representing the survivors says the alleged abusive behavior has being going on for years. The three whistleblowers have been transferred from Newark Airport and the Department of Homeland Security is investigating the incident.