Police Abuse

Recording Abusive Border Patrol Conduct Becomes a Thing Among Fed-Up Americans

Internal checkpoints drive peaceful citizens to assert their rights and share the results

|

Border Patrol agents' bad behavior—not just at the international boundary but at checkpoints as much as 100 court-endorsed miles away within the "Constitution-free zone"—is easy to document both because it's so damned common, and because of the willingness of some brave souls to record their encounters and post the results online. Terry Bressi, a University of Arizona staff engineer, is something of a pioneer in the field of documenting encounters with armed and abusive federal agents. When Reason TV interviewed him in 2013, he'd already recorded over 300 such meet-and-greets. Maybe his example inspired others, or perhaps the impossibility of transiting many roads and communities, especially in the Southwest, without being stopped by Border Patrol made responses inevitable. The Houston Chronicle reports that there's a growing surge of Americans recording themselves asserting their rights to ill-behaved federal thugs.

Writes the Chronicle's Dane Schiller:

Some of the travelers appear to be making a stand for what they say are their rights and contend that the government, which has long drawn support for doing whatever is needed to protect the nation's borders, is going too far.

Determining how widespread the videotaping has become is difficult to determine, but they are well-known among border activists, academics, lawyers and law-enforcement officers from Texas to California. Hundreds of such videos are posted online, and they are drawing millions of viewers.

"Some of the travelers" are standing for their rights? Well, others may be sticking it to Border Patrol for shits and giggles, including the guy who sped his way through a checkpoint by wielding a Bible and offering to save the agent's soul. Remember that tactic. It could be handy.

But asserting your rights to refuse searches and ignore unreasonable questions at the checkpoints can be dangerous—and painful. Greg Rosenberg was held for 19 days last year without charges after bristling at Soviet-style treatment (he's a naturalized citizen who suffered under the communists in Armenia) at a South Texas checkpoint. He was held after refusing to concede that he was in the wrong

His case is hardly isolated. Schiller discusses the case of Thomas Sauer, a long-haul trucker like Rosenberg, who was dragged from his vehicle after he failed to bow down to Border Patrol agents. He also was not charged.

Others have faced prison time after driving away or resisting a beat-down by the uniformed agents.

Border Patrol conduct can be even worse away from the observing eyes at a checkpoint. Clarisa Christiansen says a roving patrol slashed her car tires and left her and her children stranded by the side of the road after she refused consent to a search. She's represented in her complaint by the ACLU of Arizona.

Even among other federal agencies, the Border Patrol has acquired a lousy reputation. Last year, Politico's Garett M. Graff reported that problems exploded after the hysteria-fueled expansion of Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol's parent agency, after 9/11.

Corruption and excessive force have also skyrocketed along with the massive hiring surge. In fact, between 2005 and 2012, nearly one CBP officer was arrested for misconduct every single day—part of a pattern that Ronald Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigation division, calls "shocking."

Shocking, for sure. But nobody at the federal level has done anything to curb their attack dogs. If they had, public encounters with Border Patrol would be fewer, and far more pleasant. They'd more closely resemble the idealized situation below.

But pleasant encounters are few and far between with Border Patrol. Until they change their behavior, and their masters in D.C. alter the policies that enable such conduct, the best we can do is record our encounters, expose abuse, and remind the feds that they are widely despised by the people around them.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

66 responses to “Recording Abusive Border Patrol Conduct Becomes a Thing Among Fed-Up Americans

    1. No. You can’t tip a hat at yourself.

      1. I just did. No nanny nanny boo boo.

        1. *So*

          WHERE’S THE DAMN EDIT BUTTON?!?

          1. It’s crushed by the tree that fell in the woods when no one was around.

  1. and remind the feds that they are widely despised by the people around them.

    They don’t care. Why should they? They have the power to kill those who despise them, so what does it matter?

  2. Nice country we got here where citizens are stopped and harassed well inside their own borders, but illegal aliens are free to move about the country.

    1. Well, the aliens came here to find a better life. WTF are *citizens* here for?

      1. To pay taxes. The same thing the illegals will come to realize once they get their amnesty. Suckers!

        1. It’s only the fact that we care about “illegal” aliens that causes this harassment in the first place. Get rid of the hangup on the first (or realize it’s not a problem) and the second goes away. Poof.. Like magic.

          *solvin’ problems since 1980.

          1. Will TSA go away also? What about DHS?

            These guys will also not just disappear or stop harassing people because we no longer have borders. They’ll just find new reasons to harass everyone.

            We can’t just open the borders and hand out unlimited government assistance at the same time. This problem is more complex than you are making it out to be.

            I’m pro-immigration, but the issue has a lot of angles.

            1. Well, when I’m appointed benevolent dictator they will go away.

              1. You can’t just appoint yourself benevolent dictator. The commentariat here have to approve.

                And anyway, the title is Supreme Overlord. And we all get cushy czarships where we just jet around the world and party, or there will be a coup.

            2. No, its not more complex.

              Stop handing out free shit, open the border.

              Simple.

              The border *was* open. Then we started handing out free shit.

              I never asked for anyone to start handing out free shit.

              The ‘handing out free shit’ is just the excuse people use to justify closing the border.

              While we’re at it, legalize drugs (and their importation), stop this *15k* low-skilled visa shit and give a temp visa and a green card to anyone who wants to come work – and voila! Not only do we no longer have an illegal immigration problem but 99% of the justification for the Border Patrol to screw with people goes away.

              1. It’s not that simple because we WILL NOT stop handing out free shit. See. Sure if you take that away, but we won’t.

                1. So your solution is to allow them to keep handing out free shit *and* make things worse for everyone else?

                  If the problem with immigration is the ‘handing out free shit’ part then the problem is with Welfare.

                  Fix the *root cause*, don’t mess around with second order results.

                  Seriously, you sound like a pol – we must do something, this is something, we must do this.

                  Your solution fixes *nothing* while allowing welfare to continue to expand *and* has the nice ‘unintended consequence’ of allowing the build up of a police state apparatus.

          2. “goes away” ….

            HA H AHA HA HAAHAH AHAHAHHA !!!

        2. It would be amazing if the US just granted citizenship to all the undocumented workers in the country. Not offered, but forced. Nothing would clear the country of undocumented workers faster.

      2. To be fair “checkpoints” in the countries the aliens are coming from are a little more contentious. However, the good news is we’re catching up!

    2. The illegals are smart enough to not live within 100 miles of the border.

  3. How about a bad-assery contest among officers from various LE agencies? It could be like “American Idol”.

    1. I get it, but where the contestants get to kill members of the audience.

  4. It’s a small price to pay to prevent Mexicans from coming here and taking our jerbs and welfare.

    /bordertard

    1. There are no jobs for them to take that Americans will even do. Welfare is another thing entirely.

      Obama’s BS about bringing Mexicans here to help form new labor unions is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard. Got news for Obama, no one is going to pay $1000 every week to get their lawn mowed or $500 extra a night in a hotel to get their bed made.

      1. Minimum wage IS welfare. No doubt many illegal aliens are taking jobs for less than minimum wage. So they’re actually undermining the welfare system. God bless ’em.

      2. Except that the numbers show that illegals pay more in taxes than they consume in ‘services’.

        1. Really, how good are the numbers on illegals? How do we know? I know for a fact that some of them are paying taxes, but how do we know they’re illegal? They all have fake SS numbers.

          1. You know how jobs work in this country, right?

            You apply for a job, you show an SSN, you have takes withheld.

            Except since these guys are sharing the SSN with a thousand other people, they can’t claim back excess withholding, can’t claim SS, etc.

            1. They can, and should, file using an ITIN. That’s their money. They should be getting it back.

        2. In CA, it’s a net loss of approximately $10Bn.

          $13Bn+/- paid in taxes.
          $23Bn+/- consumed in “services.”

      3. Fun fact: They actually use far less welfare than Americans.

  5. Paypahs pleez!

    You know who else restricted freedom of movement?

    1. helicopter parents? straight jackets? the horse that threw christopher reeve? Meningitis?

    2. Levi Strauss

      1. Christian Grey?

        1. Oh, that’s very good. Well done.

    3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

    4. Briar patch?

    5. Leto II Atreides?

    6. Sex swings?

    7. Maynard and Zed?

      1. Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.

    8. The town fathers in the movie “Footloose”?

    9. Nurse Ratched?

  6. Every time “Border Security” is talked about in Congress, they should all be forced to watch these assholes in action – nowhere near the border.

    1. 99% of them will hardily approve.

      1. That’s a low estimate, imo.

      2. Especially when you show them the video of the kid burning to death. That should be a hit up on the Hill.

        1. Collateral damage. Procedures were followed. All the officers went home safely.

          1. All the officers went home safely ran like pussies.

            1. But they ran home, and that’s all that matters.

        2. Empathy is alien to the same gang that made the following possible:

          “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime,” said John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor who has also tried counting the number of new federal crimes created in recent years. “That is not an exaggeration.”

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB…..1079728920

          1. He’s just repeating something everyone around here has known for a long time. And they are not even close to finished with inventing new crimes.

        3. Did I miss something? Do I need to know about this? Will it make me mad?

  7. Some of the travelers appear to be making a stand for what they say are their rights

    I think it’s fair assume what this journalist wouldn’t know his rights if he was being beaten to death with them at an internal checkpoint.

    1. I noticed that… I guess these rights we have are “alleged”.

  8. If you’re a border patrol “agent”, get the Hell out of my country. You belong in Caracas, Havana, or Phnom Penh.

    (By the way, can we stop calling these people “agent” or “officer” or any other ego-inflated title? They’re freak’n government employees that get a paycheck just like anyone else.)

    1. “agent” = “bureaucrat”

    2. Not just “anyone else” gets a paycheck purely funded by extortion proceeds.

  9. My ex-wife makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay check was $18875 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Look At This. ???? http://www.jobsfish.com

  10. My ex-wife makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay check was $18875 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Look At This. ???? http://www.jobsfish.com

  11. Wait you mean to tell me restrictions on the right to freely move and contract lead to *MORE* restrictions on our rights?

    Huh weird.

  12. The fourth and fifth amendments say nothing at all about borders. The entire bill of rights is binding upon any American official at all times, in all places.

    -jcr

  13. May I suggest this scenario times 10,000 every day:

    “911, police, fire, or medical?”
    caller: police
    Police: what’s the problem?
    caller: I am being detained by several armed men. They are dressed as some kind of law enforcement. I fear for my life. Please help me.
    Police: Where are you?
    caller: About 3 miles south of XYZ town on state road ABC.
    Police: Those might be border patrol agents.
    caller: I doubt it, I’m nowhere near a border. I’m about 80 miles inside the USA.
    Police: I think those are border patrol agents.
    caller: Can you see them?
    Police: Of course not.
    caller: What law enforcement jurisdiction am I in?
    Police: Sheriff’s departement of PDQ county.
    caller: Ok, please send a sheriff, I need help and I fear for my life.
    Police: I don’t think that is necessary.
    caller: Should I shoot this armed man or just make a run for it? I fear for my life.
    Police: Don’t shoot anyone.
    caller: Ok. Please send a sheriff to help me. I fear for my life. I hope I’m still alive when he gets here Please don’t let me down. I ‘m counting on you.
    etc. etc.

    I think LE needs to get an idea of what it feels like to be inconvenienced. After a while, someone will start pushing for some procedural changes.

  14. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where this is all going to end up within the next couple of decades. It’s not like we’ve never had a civil war before. I imagine the first to fall will be the bureaucrats…god bless their little evil souls.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.