On July 2, 2018, the first amended complaint in CPUSA’s ongoing civil rights lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The biggest changes between the initial complaint and the first amended complaint include a refinement of the factual allegations, a refinement of the law violation counts and the dropping of the Bivens Claim against the individual federal agents. While I was reluctant to do this, it was deemed necessary due to recent court rulings limiting the scope of the Bivens Claim and making a successful Bivens claim in this case unlikely. A federal tort claim is still in the works however and we anticipate rolling such a claim into this complaint at a later date.
Understanding that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and that internal checkpoints represent more of a threat to our country than the problem(s) they profess to solve, the Cato Institute recently launched an initiative to help identify and track the Border Patrol roadblocks currently being operated along public highways inside the United States of America. This initiative, aptly named:
is just beginning and has positively identified 39 of approximately 140 interior roadblocks currently in existence in the Southern border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).
I was recently interviewed by KOLD’s Craig Reck in Tucson, AZ regarding a civil rights lawsuit that was recently filed in U.S. District Court that I’m involved in:
The lawsuit is the result of ongoing harassment I’ve been the subject of for years by Pima County Sheriff Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents at the SR-86 CBP roadblock located near milepost 146.5:
The last straw leading up to the lawsuit was an incident that took place at the roadblock on April 10, 2017 involving, amongst others, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Roher and U.S Border Patrol Agent T. Frye.
By the time everything was said and done, Deputy Roher had arrested me on a state charge of highway obstruction. This despite the fact that I was being detained against my will in front of two stops signs in the lane of traffic at a federal roadblock by an armed federal agent who had refused to let me leave while investigating me possible violations of federal law he had no reasonable basis to believe I had violated. I fought the charge in court for eleven months before it was finally dropped by the prosecutor based in part on testimony given by Deputy Roher in a deposition from earlier this year.
While defending against the charge, I filed a Notice of Claim with Pima County in October of 2017. After the charge was finally dropped, I filed a Federal Tort Claim with Customs & Border Protection in March followed by the legal complaint in April of this year.
Updated information regarding this incident and the ongoing lawsuit will be made available on this blog and the following page(s):
The Tucson Weekly has an interesting article in last week’s edition titled:
It’s actually an excerpt from a book titled, STORMING THE WALL, by Todd Miller. The article does a good job painting real faces on the people Border Patrol agents routinely abuse, harass and traumatize at suspicionless checkpoints/roadblocks along domestic highways across the Southwest.
An excerpt from the article appears below:
"Sit down," the agent barks.The children immediately sit on the burning asphalt. Garcia doesn't sit. He is trying to articulate, now by his actions, that he doesn't consent. The pause is enough to irritate the agent again. "Sit the fuck down," the agent says to the U.S. citizen, again raising his billy club. Garcia finally complies. The border between these two sets of U.S. citizens is as powerful as the actual international border, and the threat of violence can emerge as suddenly and fiercely as an oncoming storm. - Checkpoint Trauma, Tucson Weekly, September 21, 2017
2017 has seen a resurgence in the U.S. Border Patrol’s ongoing war against freedom of movement inside the country. This despite the fact the U.S. Border Patrol is supposed to, well, patrol the actual border:
The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is an American federal law enforcement agency. Its mission is to detect and prevent illegal aliens, terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband. It is the mobile, uniformed law enforcement arm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). With over 21,000 agents, the U.S. Border Patrol is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. - Wikipedia
Given however that Customs & Border Protection has little interest in shutting down more than about 30% of illegal traffic at the actual border due to CBP corruption and the impact of enforcement operations on cross-border commercial traffic, one can see why the Border Patrol continues to shift its dog and pony show away from actual border enforcement activities and towards interior enforcement operations that significantly interfere with domestic traffic.
A federal magistrate in Phoenix, Arizona recently chastised U.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for blatant violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The magistrate’s findings were the result of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the ACLU & two University of Arizona law professors over three years ago.
While violations of federal law by DHS and USCBP are nothing new and FOIA lawsuits against them are numerous, what’s relatively unique in this case is the subject of the FOIA lawsuit referenced above. Specifically, it targets the Green Monster’s policies & procedures regarding interior enforcement operations such as internal roadblocks and roving patrols along with complaints filed against USCBP related to the enforcement of those policies and procedures.
I started writing this blog entry, regarding a disabled school teacher dragged out of her vehicle and forced to the ground at a Marfa, TX checkpoint in 2015, shortly after first hearing about it. Unfortunately, I let the story get away from me by sitting on it for too long as I tried doing research on several related issues and waiting for more information regarding the incident to come to light. To be frank, I forgot about it after a while and didn’t come across it again until just recently while dusting off the website & prepping for new content. Despite the age of the incident however, I think it’s an important story to highlight because it shows several things that are so very wrong with interior suspicionless roadblocks in America.
While on vacation and traveling the Southwest in January of this year, Mark Edge along with his wife and young son gained some valuable insights into what it’s like to live within the occupied territories of the United States of America. During their travels, they were stopped and seized absent reasonable suspicion no less than four times by armed paramilitary troops operating suspicionless roadblocks with impunity along public highways inside the United States of America.
While I have much to say about Rick Rynearson’s treatment at the hands of jack-booted Border Patrol thugs at internal suspicionless roadblocks and black-robed judicial thugs in the judicial system, I’ll let Rick speak for himself….
Evan Bernick | 17 March 2016
“It is an issue that affects millions of American motorists: Can border patrol agents detain you simply because they believe you are being difficult? Last year, a federal court concluded that it was “reasonable” for border patrol agents performing citizenship checks to detain Richard Rynearson at an immigration checkpoint for 23 minutes after he offered the agents both his military and personal passports, without any suspicion of criminal activity. In rejecting Rynearson’s Fourth Amendment claims, the court brushed aside compelling evidence—captured on video—that the agents deliberately prolonged Rynearson’s detention because he dared to question the propriety of some of their questions and instructions.”