Border Patrol Threatens Mother, Slashes Her Tire, as Kids Watch


Clarisa Christiansen

The situation in Arivaca, Arizona, where residents face off with Border Patrol in front of neighbors and cameras, is tense enough. Federal agents have told locals, "you have no rights here," even as they run them through a daily gauntlet and harass them when they protest the situation.

But imagine running into Border Patrol agents conducting a roving patrol on an isolated road, with only your children for company. That happened to Clarisa Christiansen, who lives outside of Tucson about 40 miles from the border. She says the agents threatened her with a Taser, forced her from her car as her kids watched—and slashed her tire for good measure.

The American Civil Liberties Union described several cases of abuse, including Christiansen's in a complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security (PDF). They've since posted videos abut the incidents, in which the victims describe their experiences, to raise the pressure and overcome a little bureaucratic inertia (see below). A lawsuit filed yesterday seeks to raise the pressure still further, since federal officials are stonewalling efforts to get information about just how they're conducting those patrols—though the experiences of those on the receiving end are not encouraging.

The description below is from the complaint.

On May  21,  2013,  Clarisa Christiansen was driving home with her seven-year-old  daughter and five-year-old son after picking her daughter up from elementary school. Ms. Christiansen and her children a re U.S. citizens and resident s of Three Points, Arizona, located west of Tucson and approximately 40 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. On their way  home, at approximately 2:15 pm, the family was pulled over by a Border Patrol vehicle. The stop occurred  on a stretch of  dirt road about two miles from their home, which is approximately fifteen miles from the elementary  school.

Ms. Christiansen stopped her vehicle and was approached by a Border Patrol agent. The agent asked her if she was a U.S. citizen; she answered affirmatively. The agent then  demanded  that Ms. Christ iansen exit her vehicle so  it could be searched. Ms. Christiansen stated that she  did not consent to a search and asked the agent why she had been stopped. The agent responded  that he would not provide an explanation until Ms. Christiansen exited her vehicle. Ms. Christiansen stated that she would not exit her vehicle until she was provided with an  explanation for the stop. The agent refused and was clearly agitated that Ms. Christiansen had  requested an explanation. At that point, two additional Border Patrol agents approached Ms. Christiansen's vehicle.

Slashed tire

Ms. Christiansen then stated that if there was no reason for stopping her that she would  be on her way, and wished the agent a good day. The agent told her, "You're not going  anywhere." That agent then said to the other agents, "This one is being difficult, get the Taser."  The agent opened the driver's side door and  demanded that she exit.  Ms. Christiansen, now  fearing for her safety and that of her children, refused. Ms. Christiansen's children became upset; her daughter asked, "Mommy what's going on?" Ms. Christiansen told the children to stay calm and sit still, but she could see they were confused and afraid.

The agent then approached Ms. Christiansen with a retractable knife and threatened to cut her out of her seatbelt if she didn't exit the vehicle. Ms. Christiansen repeated her demand for an  explanation, which the agents still refused to give her. Instead, the agent forcibly reached inside Ms. Christiansen's vehicle without her consent and removed the keys from the ignition.

Ms. Christiansen had no choice but to exit the vehicle. She presented her  identification. The agents ran a background check, gave her back her driver's license, returned  to their vehicle without  saying anything, and drove away. The entire stop lasted approximately  35 minutes.  At that point, Ms. Christiansen noticed that her rear tire had been punctured and was flat. There was a large incision along the side of the tire, consistent with a knife puncture and not a routine or accidental flat. It was a very hot day and there was no one for miles around.  Fortunately, Ms. Christiansen was able to contact her brother to bring her a car jack to change the flat tire.

When Christiansen complained to the Department of Homeland Security about the incident and demanded compensation for the tire, she was initially put off. Only after the ACLU became involved did an official—Richard Hill—respond. He told her he thought the tire had been torn and not intentionally slashed (see the photo above and judge for yourself). He also told her he would interview one of the agents involved and follow up with her.

Shockingly, she hadn't heard from him again by the time the ACLU filed its own complaint.

For the record, speaking as an Arizona resident, stranding people in the Sonoran desert—especially children, as temperatures start to climb during late spring—is a very effective way to kill them. 

Last year, the ACLU reached a settlement with Customs and Border Protection regarding its controversial roving patrols along the Canadian border, on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.The feds didn't admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to provide agents with Fourth Amendment training and to share data from the stops with the ACLU for 18 months.

The lawsuit filed yesterday seeks similar data about internal stops in Arizona, since the feds have ignored all polite requests for such information.

Given what they've apparently been up to, the reticence may be understandable.

NEXT: Obama Approval Ratings at New Low, Air Force Blames Lower Quality Drone Pilots on 'Stigma,' New York Mets Boycott Reporter Over Fat Pitcher Joke: P.M. Links

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  1. And she totally looks like the typical central American who crosses the border illegally. And illegals are known to come with their small children in expensive SUVs with Arizona plates.

    Am I just being paranoid or is Obama just using the CPB to fuck with Americans he doesn’t like? If it is the case that the border patrol is just out of control trying to stop illegals, why would they have bothered with this woman? The only reason you bother with this woman or anyone like her is because you are not there to stop illegals but there to terrorize the local population.

    This is straight out of Chavez’s Venezuela.

    1. I take that back. These people started to object and the CPB has now decided they will just punish them. I bet they only stop natives now.

    2. You’re not being paranoid, except in thinking this is an Obama thing. It’s part of the out-of-control, bloated, who gives a shit about peoples rights federal government that’s been going on for decades.

      And there’s not a goddamn thing that’s going to stop it because most people enjoy getting fucked up the ass by government and beg for more.

      1. I amended above. I think what probably happened is these people started telling the CBP no and CBP is now pissed off and now pulls over every native they see just to fuck with them and show them they can.

        1. “Because fuck you, that’s why.”

          Plenty of people like exercising arbitrary power over others. It gets their rocks off.

          Where would you apply for work if you were one of those people?

          1. You would think that in a state with a high density of gun ownership the feds would be more circumspect.

        2. They are getting away with it because DHS has unilaterally decided that within 100 miles of the border or coastline is a “Constitution Free” zone.

          Originally it was only for the purpose of asking about citizenship but has proved to be the camels nose under then tent. Courts have begun the power to include searching and/or confiscating electronics.

          Now it seems to have grown to slashing tires.

          I can’t believe that this doesn’t get more attention. A government agency of unelected bureaucrats unilaterally decides that there is such a thing as a “Constitution free” area inside the US and no one calls BULLSHIT ?

          And yes, this is Obama. Last time I checked he is head of the DHS.

          1. Were I wealthy enough to do so, I would offer residents of the Constitution-free zone along the borders recording devices and data plans to automatically upload these incidents.

            These intolerable acts need the widest dissemination.

            1. I don’t think most people care when it’s not them being directly affected by tyranny. We have to remember that the vast majority of people have no idea how to read their moral compass, and at least half of that majority is even dumber than the median level of stupidity.

            2. Check into the searching of private aircraft, flown by licensed US citizens, 100’s of miles from any border. Typically, these searches have been conducted by DHS, CBP and others. Dogs, SWAT team members, etc.
              In some cases, the aircraft have been rendered un-airworthy because of the removal of panels which by law cannot be removed or replaced except by an A/P mechanic.

              Usually, after a few hours of threats, posturing and questions, the G-men pack up and leave with no charges or even a reason for the hassle being communicated.

     and other aviation groups have requested information and are working with congress to get some answers. Surprisingly, little information seems to be forthcoming.

      2. Agreed. It is inherent that the employees of a parasite (the government) see private citizens as the enemy. Because at the end of the day, they are paid by money stolen from the private citizens. They have power over the private citizens. They can’t help but become adversarial over time, because the relationship is not symbiotic. The private citizens get nothing in return for being stolen from, and in fact get hassled and harassed instead. The relationship becomes more and more about force.

      3. And there’s not a goddamn thing that’s going to stop it because most people enjoy getting fucked up the ass by government and beg for more.

        No, most people just don’t care as long as it’s happening to someone else.

    3. CBP is not there to stop illegals – they know they only get a tiny fraction and illegals don’t bring in money or prestige.

      They’re there for drugs and DUI. Illegals are just a nice benefit in that it gives them some semi-legit cover.

    4. I wonder how much of this behavior is related to who the governor of AZ is, and what kind of legislation they have tried to pass or have passed?

      Maybe I’m too cynical, thinking this is some kind of political payback, but that thought has been bouncing around in my head, and it won’t go away.

      1. That is a good point. The border runs through California, New Mexico and Texas as well. Yet, you don’t seem to be hearing these stories in those states.

        I think it is either Washington fucking with Arizona or it is a local office pissed off and making war on the natives.

        1. How can you people let yourself get distracted by this stuff? Don’t you know that the owner of an NBA team said something racist?! What kind of an America do you really want to live in!

        2. I think these problems stem largely from the fact that it’s in Arizona, so they probably hired Arizonans. Arizonans from what I’ve observed are authoritarian xenophobic shitbags that hate Mexicans and love authority. Nuke that state and repopulate with Hispanics.

          1. Is your warboner drooping? Unable to reach across the sea to Iraq, you now wish to rub it on Arizona?

            1. You need help. I need brain bleach.

          2. Fuck me you are an idiotic tool Cyto.

            I can state with absolute certainty based on what I’ve seen of your fuckwitted commentary here that you have never left your mom’s basement in Canada.

            1. I can state with absolute certainty you should calm down and try to be funnier, like Virginian is above.

      2. You think that this is payback against Brewer? She was pretty easily bought off in the Obamacare Medicare/Medicaid expansion. Then again, maybe an occasional stick is cheaper than frequent carrots.

        1. I don’t know. But political payback isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine. National Democrats aren’t very nice people, so myself… yeah, I can see fuckery from DC.

          1. I wish I believed that it was as simple as that. Maybe a confluence of both the Border Patrol’s fascist cosplay and people in DC quietly looking the other way over politics.

            1. Sounds plausible. Might be more realistic than my theory.

            2. Fascist cosplay. I like the cut of your jib.

    5. And she totally looks like the typical central American who crosses the border illegally. And illegals are known to come with their small children in expensive SUVs with Arizona plates.

      She’s a coyote.

    6. So this would all be fine if she was hispanic?

      1. That’s totally what he meant, yup.

      2. Are you missing a chromosome, or are you just unbelievably stupid?

        1. And it appears I have an extra chromosome because missing a chromosome isn’t a thing.

          1. missing a chromosome isn’t a thing.

            Says who?

            1. You learn something new every day. About your mom.

        2. Then please explain why several of the commenters have responded with “and she isn’t even hispanic looking” as though it would have been a mitigating factor? Since your apparently so much smarter than me, please explain any legitimate reason of bringing up the race of the victim in a discussion of police brutality?

          1. So unbelievably stupid and possessing an extra chromosome it is. I never said it couldn’t be both!

            1. i.e. Episarch can’t think of a legitimate reason and so is just going to ignore it. Like all the phony “libertarians” here, he doesn’t really care about police brutality, just police brutality that might be directed at someone like him.

              1. This is hilarious. More!

              2. Or, you know, Epi and John could realize that the Border Patrol is simply far more likely to harass anyone who looks Hispanic, and is recognizing that fact without in any way condoning it.

                But I guess that extra chromosome makes critical thinking hard.

              3. Perhaps you might be happier at Salon or Rawstory where this:

                he doesn’t really care about police brutality, just police brutality that might be directed at someone like him.

                is considered an intelligent and constructive comment.

                1. As opposed to intelligent and constructive comments like “Are you missing a chromosome”?

                  1. Stormy dragon…

                    Come on sing to the tune of ‘Stormy Weather’…


                  2. As opposed to intelligent and constructive comments like “Are you missing a chromosome”?

                    You assumed, without evidence and ignoring any other interpretation of what they said, that the commenters were being racist. You essentially seem to be completely unwilling to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and launched straight into a Bo-style Grand Inquisitor mode. Epi was relatively polite, comparatively.

          2. Because not a lot of Norwegians are looking to illegally immigrate across the Mexican border.

          3. I’m pretty sure they were just pointing that out because this doesn’t look like a typical case of the Border Patrol looking for illegal immigrants. When the BP is looking to fuck with people who they suspect of being illegal, they normally don’t stop white mothers. I don’t think they were saying that it would be ok if she was Hispanic, but that there seems to be no apparent reason behind it, whereas had she been Hispanic, racial profiling is a very likely obvious explanation.

            1. What Calidissident said. That was exactly the point.

      3. Read John’s original comment more closely. He’s not saying anything about how she should be treated differently based on her race (I also cocked my head sideways for a sec, but then made the realization). He’s saying that is was probably obvious to the BP that she wasn’t Hispanic, and therefore most likely not an illegal immigrant. He argued why the BP is harassing a woman that doesn’t fit a typical profile that falls within a BP purview. They could just be careful in that they are violating the rights of all ethnicities, thus proving they are not racists – OR – They could be targeting obviously non-illegals for some other nefarious reason.

        1. Sorry, this was already addressed in another post and I didn’t see it.


    8. Are you mad because they didn’t racially profile her?

    9. She looks like an ILLEGAL humanoid to me! But then some nay-sayers say that “when humanoids are outlawed, only outlaws will be humanoid”.. I just dunno any moah? Scienfoological Wisdom could set us ALL free from such silly fighting! To learn more about Scienfoology, please see ?

  2. Oh wow and she isnt even black? Whats up with that. Are the kids half black?

    1. wow, who knew that Don Sterling was running the SpamBot alliance?

  3. Oh wow and she isnt even black? Whats up with that. Are the kids half black?

  4. OT: Which one of you snarky bastards is the other chef? Any advice on running my first kitchen?

    1. I have never run a kitchen but the people I know who have tell me to hire central Americans and bust your purveyors’ balls at every opportunity since they are all complete crooks looking to rip you off any way possible.

      1. So they are just like bartenders from anywhere, with a particular accent. Or tow truck drivers.

      2. Already done on both point John.

        1. I believe sloopy has been one.

    2. Aren’t you a Philly guy? Email me at the address in my handle and let me know where it is and I’ll make sure to eat there.

    3. I used to be. What do you need?

      1. E-mail me since I probably won’t come back to this thread.

  5. Is this harassment reserved for US citizens, or is the random illegal immigrant being asked a question every now and again?

  6. Attempted murder by stranding someone in the desert? Sure looks that fucking way.

  7. This shit is why I still throw money the ACLU’s way. I know they suck at times, but they’re sometimes the only group that cares about this kind of thing.

    1. I vacilate between forgiving ACLU for its sins and not forgiving them for the wedding cake stuff. This is really a lot worse than forcing someone to bake a wedding cake and has a far worse prognosis. ACLU forgiven…sort of.

      1. I almost donated to the ACLU at one point, but their incredible dedication to ignoring the 2nd amendment stopped me. And I think they suck on campaign finance as well.

        Give to IJ. They do God’s work.

    2. The ACLU is like the Humane Society. Don’t give a cent to the national organization but your local outfit may do very good work.

      1. I think you are coerced into donating to the ACLU. I recall reading that the ACLU got a fair amount of money from the USG to do it’s work.

  8. The answer to this is for residents to travel in armed convoys of no less than five technicals, with several people riding in the beds, each carrying a patrol rifle.

    No, I’m not joking.

    1. What? So the BP can feel justified in mining the road?

      Because that is exactly what they’d do.

      1. Shh, I’m making an omelette here.

      2. So be it. They’ll probably blow themselves up.

    2. Can they wear those cool costumes made from recycled football gear?

      1. Mowhaks may be required.

        1. Just walk away.

  9. The feds didn’t admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to provide agents with Fourth Amendment training and to share data from the stops with the ACLU for 18 months.

    The fact that any law enforcement agent needs ‘Fourth Amendment’ training says a lot about how awful things are.

    1. Unfortunately, 4th amendment training to law enforcement is really a class called, “Making your search comply with the 4th amendment– Instructor J. Arpaio, Mon-Wed 0830-1030, Thomas Jefferson Hall”

  10. Judging from the problem, I would say part of the problem may have been driving while blonde.

    1. Ahem, “judging from the PHOTO…”

      1. Is she the gal from Bob Corker’s campaign video telling Harold Ford Jr. to call her?
        She really let herself go.

    2. Doesn’t have a jack in the car?

      1. A few years ago my wife was thinking about buying a new (2011, I think) Mustang. Looking the car over, I realized it had no jack and no spare tire. Not even a donut.
        That killed the deal for her.

  11. When Christiansen complained to the Department of Homeland Security about the incident and demanded compensation for the tire, she was initially put off

    One of the problems with a bureaucracy. A private company, even if they thought the claim was BS, would at least have appeared to take things seriously.

  12. Let me be clear: FYTW.

  13. He told her he thought the tire had been torn and not intentionally slashed (see the photo above and judge for yourself).

    Looks like a nice, careful razor knife cut to me.

    So anybody know why these people haven’t banded together and thrown the assholes out?

    1. So anybody know why these people haven’t banded together and thrown the assholes out?

      Ruby Ridge, Waco, and West Philadelphia.

      1. Emiliano Zapata Salazar.

    2. I am kind of astonished at how ridiculous this is getting, and that some Rep or Senator or the governor hasn’t taken the opportunity to get some screen time by getting involved. But I think that’s an indicator of how immensely powerful these bureaucracies have gotten.

    3. The desert is full of perfectly flat razor sharp rocks that lunge out towards tires without warning.

      1. When I was in Alaska I heard there was a similar problem plaguing federal LEO vehicles, except the rocks were more circular and came out of snowy forests.

    4. You’d think there’d be an app out by now, Waze-like, that would show the checkpoints.

      1. There is already an app for DUI checkpoints and speed traps, seems that it could be used pretty much as is.

        The problem is that these BP checkpoints block roads in areas where there isn’t a lot of road choice around the border region of Arizona. Setting up 5-6 checkpoints could completely block off the Southern quarter of the state unless people went offroad through the reservations and Ft. Huachuca (which is a no-no). And when I say “offroad” I mean serious aftermarket upgraded four wheel drive jeep and horse track driving through incredibly isolated and dangerous terrain.

        Nevermind the ever-present danger of graboids…..

    5. How does a tire get “torn”, anyway?

  14. A bit off topic, but what is the point of the asking whether a person is a US citizen? Is an illegal really going to the tell the truth? Do they follow up by checking your ID in some database? Are they trying to see if you speak with an accent?

    1. Are they trying to see if you speak with an accent?

      In my experiences at borders, yes.

    2. There is no point other than continuing their otherwise unjustifiable employment. It’s theater and theft.

    3. They’re letting you know that you have no rights within 100 miles of the border. I’ve hit checkpoints in central Maine on 95, far, far from the border and with basically no one on the road. Why are they there? To let you know they can be.

      1. Motherfucker does this piss me off.

      2. Alright already, are you a mule or something? Seattle, NYC, backwoods Maine, Estonia, god knows where else you’ve been.

        1. Hawaii. Always Hawaii. And Spain, Italy, England, Wales, Scotland, Germany/Iceland/Finland (when I go to Estonia), and of course…Baltimore. But you know about Baltimore.

          Unfortunately, also Canada.

          1. Unfortunately, also Canada.

            Excuse me how many internal checkpoints like those in your country did you run into while here?

            1. Oh look, the autistic sociopathic chickenhawk Objectivist doesn’t get a tongue in cheek joke. What. A. Surprise.

              That joke was for Archduke, Aresen, and Rufus. Not you, moron.

              1. Oh wow this…this is special. The irony here is incredible. It’s almost as off the charts as your buzzword boner. Only Epi could sperg so hard while calling someone else a sperg. Be sure to wipe the spittle off your screen little buddy.

      3. You know, I read the constitution frequently, and I find no mention of any exceptions to the bill of rights that are contingent on proximity to an international border.


        1. Cuz it’s a living, breathing, mutating document that reflects, coincidentally, exactly what LEOs say is necessary to protect our liburtees. It’s Op art.

        2. I read the constitution frequently

          Well, that’s your first mistake. Expecting words to mean what they say is a real rabbit hole. Even the people who ratified the constitution didn’t expect that words mean what they say. They were twisting in exceptions to their limits within a few short years. “No law” doesn’t really mean no law. Just no unreasonable law.

    4. what is the point of the asking whether a person is a US citizen

      Last fall Mrs. Hobbit and I went thru several of these abominations on a southern trip. One of the checkpoints the guys asked me, “Are you a citizen?” and I replied, “Yes”. I could have been a citizen of Mars and the reply would have been just as truthful.

      … Hobbit

      1. A few years ago (2005?) I was driving a rental car from the San Diego airport to Yuma Proving Ground in AZ in the wee hours. At around 2 AM in the middle of nowhere AZ, there was a checkpoint. I slowed down and the officer pointed a flashlight at me and just waved me through. I concluded they were doing some sort of profiling and that a woman driving alone didn’t fit the profile. (Nobody else was around, so it wasn’t because they were busy.)

        Still, I found it vaguely disturbing that they can just pull people over for no reason. That was way before I became aware of how unfortunately common cases of abuse of authority are.

  15. You know what? This isn’t funny anymore.

    1. This business will get out of control.

      We live in interesting times, bros. I think we will be witness to how far people will be pushed. And it won’t be whether it resolves, but how. I hope it can still happen peacefully, but I’m skeptical.

    2. It stopped being funny to me on 12 SEP 2001

  16. The price of freedom, BITCHEZ!

  17. Damn, and I thought Dragons were kinda cool. Stormy, maybe you are a dragon with a raging storm in your sheisser hole. That could be the reason for the attitude and douche baggery within your posts. I got you some pepto bismol and preparation h. Maybe that will help you out dude.

  18. Is Clarisa Christiansen a racist? Obviously the most important detail in this affair.

  19. Officer Fife obviously suspected that he would find half a dozen illegal aliens concealed inside the victim’s tire. Or something.


  20. This just pisses me the fuck off

  21. no one gives a shit when it happens to men so maybe this will actually help a bit.


  22. OT: I saw a decal on a truck this weekend that puzzled me. I thought you kids could identify it for me.

    It was something like “MAV” (v was upside down, I think) followed by the greek Omaga and them some more letters. Another word was under it.

    I thought I saw it on a tee-shirt ad somewhere, but can’t find it again.

    What does it mean?

  23. Ridicilous how some law enforcers use their title as an excuse to use violence

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