The video above depicts the actions of a violent street gang that's been operating with impunity in Southern Texas for quite some time now. The street gang, also known as the Green Monster (U.S. Border Patrol), physically attacked a truck driver without just cause at a suspicionless internal Homeland Security roadblock near Falfurrias, Tx in early November of this year:
[CBP Roadblock - Falfurrias, TX: Latitude: 27.025054, Longitude: -98.138415]
On March 18, 2010 Major Richard Rynearson, an active duty air force pilot, was illegally detained for over 34 minutes at an internal immigration checkpoint near Uvalde, Texas despite answering all immigration related questions and showing multiple forms of identification to Border Patrol agents. Agents who were far more interested in harassing Mr. Rynearson than verifying his immigration status. Instead of disciplining his subordinates for violating Border Patrol legal guidance, violating the law and violating Mr. Rynearson's rights, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Harris (depicted below) doubled down by writing a letter to Rynearson's command complaining about Rynearson actually exercising some of those rights Harris is responsible for protecting.
As regular readers of this blog know, on April 30, 2014 I was illegally detained in the lane of traffic at a suspicionless DHS roadblock by Border Patrol Agent J. Tackett near mile marker 146.5 along SR86 in Southern Arizona. Agent J. Tackett threw a spike strip down in front of my vehicle within about 30 seconds of the stop for daring to ask him a few questions. Tackett's unlawful detention was furthered by his supervisor G. Serrano who continued the detention while dispatching another agent to call over Pima County Sheriff Deputy Avila under the false pretense that I was blocking traffic while failing to inform him that Agent Tackett's spike strip & detention were the actual cause of the blockage.
As previously indicated, the state charge against me for honking my horn at a federal Border Patrol checkpoint setup along a state highway inside the country while being illegally detained in the lane of traffic by federal agents has been dismissed in Pima County Justice Court after an hour-long hearing on July 11, 2014.
As part of my testimony during the hearing, I read from a fourteen page written statement along with ten supporting exhibits. That statement and the exhibits have been re-created below. Additionally, I've requested a copy of the audio record of the hearing from the court and will post it once it becomes available. I'm also planning on uploading video footage of the encounter in the near future.
Below appears the text of the written statement I read in court along with applicable links. For those who follow the checkpoint issue closely, you'll probably find several of the exhibits I presented in court interesting. These would include recent ACLU complaints and a FOIA lawsuit regarding internal Border Patrol checkpoints, information regarding Operation Stonegarden where local cops collect overtime pay for assisting Border Patrol agents in the field and a recent Border Patrol law bulletin informing agents they can't legally detain people for not answering questions or because they don't like their attitude.
Good news regarding Major Richard Rynearson's lawsuit against the Border Patrol has recently surfaced. After having his case dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Del Rio in September of last year, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to review the case and hear oral argument sometime in the next few months.
[Update: Friday's hearing lasted about an hour at Pima County Justice Court with hearing officer Holguin. Deputy Avila showed up in person & testified for about five minutes or so. I cross-examined him for about twenty minutes and then testified for another twenty to twenty five minutes with a 14 page written statement and ten exhibits. Hearing Officer Holguin allowed my testimony & entered my exhibits into the record despite objections from Deputy Avila. Holguin hasn't ruled yet but will sometime in the next few weeks]
Yep, you read that correctly. On April 30, 2014 I was ticketed by a Pima County Sheriff's Deputy for beeping my horn at the CBP checkpoint after a CBP agent threw a spike strip down in front of my vehicle. I was stopped at primary and I asked the agent what his name was since his name tag was obscured by a tactical vest. The agent told me that he was the one asking questions, not me. When I pointed out that I was asking questions as well that's when the hot headed agent spiked the roadway in front of my tires.
[Supervising Agent Rosalinda Huey & two of her minions harassing roadblock monitors near Arivaca, AZ in March 2014]
Back in March, I wrote a short blog entry regarding residents of Arivaca and Amado in Southern Arizona who have come together to form People Helping People In The Border Zone. After suffering years of harassment, intimidation and overtly illegal acts by U.S. Border Patrol agents operating several suspicionless internal roadblocks in the area, residents formed the organization in order to seek answers to their questions, research the effectiveness of the roadblocks for their alleged 'lawful' purpose and ultimately to hold the Border Patrol accountable for the actions of its agents.
After two years of letter writing and petitioning got them no where (something I'm quite familiar with), the organization decided to take a more active role and gather the data they were seeking by directly monitoring checkpoint operations themselves. Quite expectantly, the Border Patrol responded by harassing the monitors, illegally threatening them & illegally interfering with their first amendment protected activities.
Rampant illegal actions by Border Patrol agents stationed in border states around the country has been the norm for quite some time now. The problem has only grown in recent years as the agency continues to expand at an alarming rate with few, if any, checks and balances. As such, it's good to see the ACLU finally taking an active roll in seeking accountability for such illegal acts at internal checkpoints and by roving patrols.
What never ceases to amaze me however is despite the increased scrutiny of the Border Patrol in general, just how many Border Patrol agents there are who couldn't care less while continuing to violate the law. This of course only serves to show just how arrogant the agency is and unaccountable its agents are.
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.
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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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