Borders

Federal Agents Beat Retiree at Border Crossing, Claim His Wounds Were 'Self-Inflicted'

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Larry Kirschenman
ACLU/YouTube

Yesterday, I highlighted the case of Clarisa Christiansen, who was rousted by roving Border Patrol agents on a road well within the United States and left stranded after they slashed her tire.

But good, old-fashioned border crossings are a great place to get roughed up by federal employees, too. Larry Kirschenman, a 75-year-old Vietnam Veteran and retiree living in a border community, who was in the habit of heading to Mexico "to get haircuts or dental work, or sometimes just for lunch" (Mexico is a popular destination for affordably dentistry), was pulled over at the Nogales port of entry. He ended up in the hospital.

That's him pictured above right, holding photos from the hospital of his injuries.

At the American Civil Liberties Union blog, he tells his story:

When I got to the border crossing where customs officers checked my passport, I was told to pull over into what's called secondary – a parking area where they search vehicles for contraband. The agent there took my keys and in a gruff voice ordered me to get out of my truck, put my hands on the vehicle, and said he was going to search me. I did exactly as he said, then turned and asked him, in a calm and polite voice, whether he needed some kind of probable cause to search me. He answered "No I don't!" Then he grabbed me in an arm lock, slammed a pair of handcuffs down on my wrists hard enough to split the skin, and pushed my wrists up behind my neck so far that my shoulders started to go out of joint. It hurt so badly I started screaming "Please stop, please stop, you're hurting me." I wasn't resisting at all, but he just kept on while I cried out in pain.

Larry Kirschenman
ACLU/YouTube

Next the officer marched me to a holding cell. There he picked me up by the seat of my pants and slammed my head onto the tile floor. I blacked out for a moment, then I woke up with a head wound that had peeled a chunk of skin off the top of my head. I was still bleeding when an officer handcuffed me to the side of a bench so tightly that I couldn't even stand up. And they kept on questioning me, "Why do you come here so often? What are you doing over there?

Unshockingly, Kirschenman started having chest pains. The agents agreed to call on ambulance, "but only if I agreed to pay the hospital bill, which I did."

According to him, the ER doc called the police, in fury over the injuries inflicted by the Border Patrol agents.

In a statement at the time of the incident, Customs and Border Protection insisted that Kirschenman's lacerations were "self-inflicted injuries" which he sustained after becoming combative. He must have thrown himself against the agents' batons, over and over again. 

The stop, claim the feds, was actually because of an outstanding California warrant which turned out to be "non-extraditable and no further charges are pending." Well, that's nice.

Kirschenman is still trying to get the Border Patrol to surrender survellance footage of the incident. Below is a video presentation of his story.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Monday to force the federal government to be more forthcoming about its agents' conduct along border.

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  1. “Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!”

    Schoolyard bullies never change. They just become police officers.

    1. My mom told me never to take shit from a bully: She encouraged me to kick his ass should he start a fight, then gave me a big hug and smile when she came to pick me up from the principle’s office while telling the principle to shove it up his ass.

      Maybe that’s why I have problems with authority.

    2. “STOP RESISTING!!”

  2. How many Border Patrol agents does it take to crack an egg? A: “NONE! It fell down the stairs!!”

  3. If he didn’t want to be beaten, he should’ve quit resisting!

    1. They couldn’t help themselves. He just had to keep running that smart fucking mouth of his.

  4. “He just kept running into my fist, jackboot and baton. He was a crazed madman.” Responding Officer.

  5. Is there *anything* we can trust the state to not ruthlessly fuck up?

    Anything at all?

    1. They didn’t fuck up. That psychopath agent went home safely that night.

    2. When you create unaccountable positions of power, the worst possible people will seek them out relentlessly. So no. It is the very nature of government’s monopoly on force that creates these situations.

      1. But, we can trust them with administering the death penalty, right?

        1. Oh, absolutely. And with dronemurdering people without trial. And with not sending innocent people to prison. And with…I’ll come in again.

          1. If morality can be said to exist, then the only logically consistent (and thus valid) form of morality is one that applies to all people at all times.

            If it’s immoral for a person to needlessly thrash a 75 year old man, then that means it’s immoral to do so even if you have a special costume or if you have the permission of 51% of an arbitrary grouping of people. Anarcho-capitalism is the only moral means of organizing a society. Freedom is moral, tyranny is not.

            1. If it’s immoral for a person to needlessly thrash a 75 year old man, then that means it’s immoral to do so

              What about if the 75 year old man is feeling up my 8 year old daughter? Is it moral for me to jump him then? What if he is on my property and won’t leave?

              Categorical imperatives never work because no matter how benign they sound, you can always come up with an example extreme enough that doing the opposite of the imperative is the only moral thing to do.

              Lying is one of the best examples of this. It is immoral to lie right? That is one pretty much everyone can agree on. So if it is immoral to lie and morality only means something if it applies to all people at all times, then is it a moral imperative for me to tell my wife the truth that she really does look fat in that dress even though it will cause her great pain and telling her she doesn’t will do no harm? Should I lie to the cops when they come looking for the Jews in my basement they want to haul off to concentration camp?

              Kant, the guy who invented the categorical imperative says, damn straight you should never lie and if that means sending the Jews off to their death, well that is on the people who did it not you.

              Most people find that justification a bit lacking.

              1. You may have overlooked the implications of the word “needlessly”. If the 75-year-old man needs a thrashing, because he’s feeling up your 8-year-old daughter, then you’re not needlessly thrashing him.

      2. I shall buy you a beer EPI.

    3. Anyone at all, even?

    4. Let’s see. They… no, wait, they fuck that up too. But how about… nope, that too.

      No, there isn’t anything.

      But that’s okay. That’s all because the right people aren’t in charge. Once we get members of Team [Insert opposite team from the team currently in power right now] into the government, I’m sure things will be much better!

  6. NBA owner makes dumbfuck racist comments = National Crisis.

    Government agents ruthlessly terrorize and beat an old man = Crickets

    1. Well, which one advances the desired narrative?

    2. That Kulturkampf isn’t going to lick itself, you know.

    3. b-b-but ‘affordably dentistry’!!

      1. We clearly need an Affordable Dentistry Act for that, not having citizens freely traveling to other countries.

        1. don’t tell my dentist that – the one who paid for the majority of his house on the beach with my teeth.

      2. If those damn Rethuglicans weren’t standing in the way of affordable health care, this would never have happened.

    4. At some point theyre gonna piss off or pick the wrong person and theyre gonna get their asses shot. Hopefully.

      1. In a just world that would happen. Unfortunately there is no such thing.

      2. Then we’ll just get a bunch of “Oh GOd, war on police” (or BP or whatever). What needs to happen is a lot of respectable citizens need to storm some police stations or fuck up some cops after they murder someone.
        When I read that thing about the girl who got shot trying to leave a party I kept thinking, why don’t the rest of the people just beat the fuck out of those murdering assholes?

        1. Because the cop had 8 bullets left?

          1. Pretty much. You would think those ABC thugs who arrested a college girl for buying water would have gotten a beatdown.

        2. why don’t the rest of the people just beat the fuck out of those murdering assholes?

          Because they don’t want to be the next ones to be shot.

      3. “Say, fellas, any of you want to commit some crimes? Let’s plan some crimes in detail right now!”

        Fuck off.

        1. Wait, you mean you were able to see through his incredibly subtle agent provacateuring? Are you a wizard?

        2. Have you met his sister Alice?

        3. Fuck you. Cause I was totally advocating that. I dont want it to happen but since police abuse is only getting worse, at some point somebody is gonna defend themselves against this shit, as they should.

          1. I agree.

  7. As long as the agents went home safely to their families.

    1. There will come a time when they attempt to blend into the riot by ditching their uniforms. Didn’t work for the STASI, won’t work here.

  8. I’m telling you, large convoys of technicals full of people carrying patrol rifles are the only way to travel through checkpoints.

  9. He was asking for. He dressed provocatively.

  10. We need people with high risk tolerance hold signs detailing your rights and risks at a border crossing a few kilometres up road from said border crossings.

  11. A friend of mine (who is of Mexican descent) grew up in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. He never runs out of Border Patrol horror stories. They have always done this.

    1. “Is uh, Carson Wells there?”
      “Not in the sense that you mean. You need to come see me.”

  12. The Congress needs to bitch slap the CPB. They show pretty much daily they can no longer be trusted with the sort of broad discretion they have always had.

    The agency is so arrogant that they seem to think their power comes from the Constitution rather than Congress such that the laws that give them their authority can’t be changed. They can be changed. No American citizen entering this country should ever be subject to secondary screening absent probable cause to believe they are committing a crime. And the days of the CBP having unlimited search authority at the border have to end, at least in regards to persons. If you want to let them have the power to search any shipping container coming into the country, fine. But no more should they be able to literally body cavity search anyone American and foreign national alike just because they feel like it.

    The CBP is an interesting question of lawless. They were far from perfect under Bush. They, however seem to have gotten much worse under Obama. That is not I think due to any specific effort on Obama or his administration’s part to make them worse. It really seems that the general attitude of complete contempt for the American public and the laws in general exhibited by Obama himself and all of his top officials has infected the entire government. Leadership and example might actually matter.

  13. “The Congress needs to bitch slap the CPB. ”

    They can’t even follow the constitution, so how can they be expected to bitch slap anyone and defend the rights of individuals?

    1. They can’t. I was just living in fantasy world for a moment. It is the only way I can keep from crying.

      1. Lol. Don’t cry though, cause then I’ll have to beat you up….but then you may like it and that would be totally awkward….and then I have to run away while throwing cookies at you to hopefully distract you.

        Oh, you don’t like chocolate chip! I’ve got the variety pack bitch!

  14. At least they didn’t shoot his dog.

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