For the second year in a row, Checkpoint USA has teamed up with several other liberty-minded organizations to sponsor a video contest designed to increase government accountability through transparency. Transparency that can only come about from increased vigilance and the active monitoring of public officials while engaging in their official duties.
With a few exceptions like agent Mike Flanders, only on April Fools Day in the alleged Land of the Free can you see how Border Patrol agents should conduct themselves at internal immigration checkpoints (other than not conducting them at all that is)....
Looks like I'm not the only Arizonan fed up with armed Border Patrol agents seizing folks absent suspicion along public roads inside the country to interrogate, search and generally harass them absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.
Showing both courage and integrity, the video above depicts an active duty Border Patrol agent speaking out against the unlawful actions of fellow agents at so-called internal immigration checkpoints in Southern California.
Mike Flanders went public with his allegations of Border Patrol misconduct at internal checkpoints after his attempts at redress within CBP (Customs and Border Protection) were rebuffed. Not only were his concerns marginalized by his chain of command but his duties at the Interstate-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley were suspended and he was reassigned to roving patrol while an internal investigation and other adversarial actions were initiated against him.
In other words, Agent Flanders was retaliated against for daring to question the illegal actions of the agency. Something Customs & Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security are obviously quite good at - retaliation that is as opposed to Border Protection or Homeland Security.
Not content to harass domestic traffic absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing at roadblocks inside the country, Border Patrol agents are now storming private homes to seize video evidence of their own wrongdoing.
The folks over at Photography Is Not a Crime bring us a story about seven Border Patrol agents who hunted down a man in Escondido, California who had taken video of an agent and an undercover police officer beating a suspect laying on the ground. After discovering where the videographer lived, the agents stormed & searched his house hours after the incident without a warrant. They then seized his cell phone, also without a warrant, containing video of the incident. See:
On January 15, 2014, the ACLU of Southern Arizona filed formal complaints with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and Office For Civil Rights and Civil Liberties regarding CBP's conduct of internal checkpoints in Southern Arizona. In the complaint, the ACLU details a dozen incidents of gross Border Patrol abuse at these checkpoints over the past fifteen months or so.
Having experienced first hand the harassment of Border Patrol agents at these types of checkpoints over the past six years, none of the abuses highlighted came as a surprise to me. Indeed, several themes appear to be repeated over and over again. First, many of the incidents described by the ACLU are ones where Border Patrol agents never even bother to ask the vehicle occupants their immigration status even though immigration is the sole 'legitimate' purpose of the roadblocks. Second, the number of false or falsified drug dog alerts described in the complaint should be eye opening. Third, many of the Border Patrol agents described in the complaint are equal opportunity abusers. It doesn't matter to them if the person they're abusing is male or female, six years old or seventy seven. Everyone daring to use the public roads these federal roadblocks have been setup along are fair game. Everyone is a target.
My thanks go out to the ACLU for helping to shed additional light on the true nature of these federal roadblocks and the so-called public servants who operate them.
Appearing in Reason Magazine's January 2014 edition is an article written by Wes Kimbell titled:
Refuseniks fight back against feds demanding paper
As you might imagine, Checkpoint USA is figured prominently in the article. It's well worth the read so if you have the time, please check it out on Reason's website. If for some reason it's not available on their website, the article appears in its entirety at the end of this blog post.
The first part of Mr. Kimbell's article highlights a violent encounter Steven Anderson had at the hands of Arizona DPS Officers and Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint near Yuma, AZ several years ago. For those of you unfamiliar with the story and the legal aftermath, I've written extensively about it here. From the link, you'll also find various videos of Mr. Anderson's legal proceedings and his assault and tazering at the hands of those who are supposed to serve & protect us.
Back in 2010 and 2011, I posted several articles regarding a decorated military field grade officer who was illegally detained and harassed by armed Border Patrol agents at an internal CBP checkpoint near Uvalde, Texas. During that encounter, the military officer was not only illegally detained and harassed at the checkpoint but was also harassed at work when agents called his military command regarding the encounter and when the Chief Patrol Agent for the Del Rio Sector, Robert L. Harris, wrote a letter of complaint to his commanding officer months after the fact.
Last month I was interviewed by Tracy Oppenheimer, a producer for Reason TV, regarding my work with Checkpoint USA and my many videotaped encounters with armed Customs & Border Protection enforcement agents seizing me at internal suspicionless roadblocks. That interview is now available on Reason's website at:
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Welcome to Checkpoint USA's blog. Here you'll find general information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel.
While I refer to court cases along with state and federal law frequently in this blog, nothing written here should be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. Rather, I'm someone concerned about the growing disregard for individual rights present at all levels of government.
My conclusions are my own based upon personal experience and research. The law is made purposely complex however and varies significantly from place to place and circumstance to circumstance.
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