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.
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.
A reader recently forwarded me the link from Reason appearing below:
It appears that police near Des Moines, Iowa are setting up suspicionless checkpoints in the area tonight and the Iowa Republican party has sent out bulletins warning drivers to be on the lookout for them and to be ready to assert their rights as necessary.
My hat's off to the Iowa Republican party for doing what political parties across the country should be doing. Educating & assisting individuals in asserting their rights against intrusive and over-reaching government operations.
In followup to my earlier article. on July 1, 2013 at Pima County's Consolidated Justice Court, hearing officer Chris Holguin dismissed the single charge of "stopping unnecessarily in the highway" levied against me by Pima County Sheriff Deputy Thomas Audetat after he decided he needed to be someplace else other than the hearing he was responsible for creating in the first place.
On Monday July 1, 2013, I'll be back in Pima County Justice Court defending myself against a bogus traffic citation issued on March 29, 2013 at the SR-86 Milepost 146.6 CBP roadblock. The citation was issued by Pima County Sheriff Deputy Thomas Audetat, badge #6312, at the beheadst of CBP Agent J Grayson for allegedly stopping unnecessarily in the highway, a violation of ARS 28-871A. This despite the fact, I was stopped in accordance with two stop signs placed in the highway and by CBP agents who ordered me to stop.
One of the advantages of video recording your compelled encounters with Border Patrol agents at internal suspicionless checkpoints no where near the border they're supposed to be patrolling is the history the videos reveal & the searchable database they create.
Back in early March, I blogged about a video that had gone viral on youtube depicting several video clips of individuals asserting their rights at suspicionless checkpoints inside the country (see video above). Since part of that video depicted an encounter Checkpoint USA had at an internal suspicionless Customs & Border Protection checkpoint back in 2008, I was contacted and interviewed by David Martin Davies of Fronteras Desk for an article he published on March 8, 2013.
My thanks go out to all those who assisted with organizing and advertising the contest along with everyone who took the time to post an entry:
On March 4th we announced The Checkpoint Contest, which solicited content that best demystifies checkpoints and educates others about their rights should they encounter one themselves.
When the deadline passed on April 8th we had received nine entries, which were judged by Terry Bressi (on behalf of Checkpoint USA), Ian Freeman (on behalf of Liberty Radio Network) and myself (on behalf of Cop Block). We all agreed – Gavin Seim’s submission best addressed the contest criteria.
For his efforts, Seim will be sent the Veho Muvi Gumball 3000 HD videocamera....
Read the rest of the announcement here.
With nearly 600,000 views in less than two weeks, it seems that the video I blogged about last week, which contains nine video clips of folks across the Southwest failing to assist Border Patrol agents with their suspicionless seizure & interrogation at interior Homeland Security checkpoints, has definitely gone viral.
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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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