Friday, July 16, 2010

Your Future In Amerika

Arizona wants the feds to get serious about controlling illegal immigration. The feds say that they don't need Arizona to confuse the situation with a "patchwork" of conflicting laws regarding the requirements to show identification.

This is Texas. This is the feds. And, this is a USAF officer, on active duty, crossing the border at a border checkpoint, not in the middle of the Sonoran desert at mid-night. He answers questions, shows a military ID card identifying himself as a commissioned officer and finally presents both a personal and a government passport.

He has prepared for this encounter because of a routine of such harrassment at this location by installing video cameras in his vehicle.

Can you say Gestapo? Jack-booted storm troopers? Out-of-control thugs? I knew that you could.


bongobear said...

Border control has a tough job in this day and age but there's no reason for them to be so overbearing. I have freinds in law enforcement and they tend to develop an attitude of 'us against everybody'. These guys in the video are being jerks (very polite jerks) but I can understand how they get that way. There has got to be a better way.

LauraB said...

The thing to remember - and what Trooper personally experienced - is that not everyone who wears a badge from the U.S. is on the side of the U.S. - indeed, several are doing all they can to hinder Right and Good.

Very profitably, I might add.

Ralph said...

Guess I’ll be the one who spoils the party.

I noticed that the immigration stop is by Del Rio, TX, a venerable USAF training location. And based on the video, it appears that the “star” of this video is a young and argumentative officer, quite possibly a second lieutenant. And we have all witnessed second looies who act like this. From the beginning, the driver’s tone is not respectful, while the officers outside maintain what I will call a monotone. Even the simplest request to roll down the window so the star of the show can be heard is not complied with. Instead, the young lieutenant becomes argumentative. This continues even when higher authority arrives a few minutes after the stop. The second looie – or whatever he is – further ingratiates himself with his condescending tone of speech, and questions about how the officers are doing their job. Is this how he speaks to the enlisted men on the flight line, or in maintenance, or better yet, base security?

I have known many law enforcement officers in my lifetime, several of whom are good friends. And yes, some officers need to be retrained from time to time; that may indeed be the case here. But you still have to respect a person who takes a law enforcement oath and wears a badge. And you need to show that respect, especially if you are pulled over. That show of respect was lacking, right from the beginning. In fact, the driver sounds more like a high school junior that a commissioned military officer. Perhaps the young lieutenant has already established a reputation at that site as a nig-mouthed troublemaker.

In any event, the participants here produce a different event that the transit cops in Florida (shown in a recent blog at this website). And while it is not easy to say this, the driver is not a person who I want to have wearing a USAF uniform as a commissioned officer. He needs to either make an immediate attitude adjustment or resign his commission. Our nation can and should do better than this. And no, even if some legitimate issues can be raised, these immigration officers should not be compared to the Gestapo or storm troopers. We should all know better that that.

Ed Rasimus said...

No, Ralph, it isn't a Lt. It is an experienced field grade officer who holds a DFC and several AMs and is an instructor pilot. He has experienced multiple episodes of harrassment at this location and has, at this point had checked on what his responsibilities were with regard to identification at the border. He is intending to pursue the unlawful detention charges in federal court. He was respectful, not argumentative and presented clear identification. The BP officials were abusive of their authority and if anyone was "evasive" it was BP.

Ralph said...


To your comparison of U.S. immigration agents with the Gestapo and other Nazi thugs, I fail to see much similarity. Is it not possible to raise legitimate search questions about these unfailingly courteous officers without invoking the Third Reich? And as most driver education courses instruct their teenage students, if confronted by an officer of the law be polite and cooperative. The same applies to grown ups, including CEOs, high school principals and military officers. We will have to disagree on the officer’s degree of courtesy, but maybe you will give us a PIREP on major’s federal case. From what I have seen, I doubt if it will go far. Nec Aspera Terrent.

Murphy's Law said...

I have to chime in here, Raz. The guy's being a tool from jump street. The officers have a job to do just like anyone else and they have a lot more people to deal with during their eight or ten hour shift than this guy. This guy, for whatever reason, was spoiling for a fight--hence the cameras and the attitude and the rehearsed and practiced questions--he was just disrespectful enough to be irksome and I think that was his intent--he wanted to draw the officers into a conflict for his own benefit.

That aside, what I tell people, based on my prior police and lawyer experience, is that your number one goal when dealing with the police is to be forgettable. Don't be "that guy"--the one that they remember unfavorably the next time you show up (or when you go to challenge a ticket in court). Just be calm, do what they instruct you to do, and if you don't like the way that something was done, get names, note the time, and follow up immediately with a complaint to their supervisors or the agency. Every agency has a system for handling ad investigating such complaints--use it. But sitting there acting like a petulant child isn't going to get you anything but trouble--the police are in charge during that brief encounter--they're not going to shrug and give you your way just because you become difficult or start trying to sound like a roadside lawyer. Trust me on that.

In this case, the guy obviously has some history at that checkpoint. I'd be willing to bet that they recognize him and remember his past actions there. And any arbiter of the facts is going to look at the fact that he set these cameras up and did his best to bait a confrontation and see this for what it is; he's now ruined his credibility as a mere innocent citizen and established a reputation as a troublemaker and an instigator. I suspect that he would have been through that checkpoint in under a minute if he'd just followed instructions and kept his ego in check.

Ed Rasimus said...

Additional info from the individual involved in this AM's email. It was a "checkpoint" not a border crossing. It was about 40 miles from the border. Under Federal law the BP can search without probable cause at the border crossing, but not at in-country checkpoints.

His preparations with regard to knowing the law and his rights were assisted by his wife who is a very successful and experienced attorney.

Of course one must be courteous with law enforcement officers, but one is not required to be subservient or to suffer abuse gladly. The law enforcement agent is a "public servant" by definition, not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I actually know the guy in the video. From my experience with him I would be willing to bet a cold case of beer that he set out to do exactly what he failed to accomplish....that being to get a sensational video of his rights being violated. Which they were not! I agree with the other posters if he would have just followed the simple request of the officer he would have been on his way in less than a minute. Instead in an effort to be difficult the "fine" officer in this video will not follow simple request to roll down his window. This action or non action does two things...causes suspicion and extra delay for other reasonable Americans who are waiting for this "military officer" to play his silly games. The Border Patrol Agent then rightly decides to send the "officer" to secondary to allow the flow of traffic to continue and to alleviate the suspicion caused by the "officer". At most the fine "officer" suffers an inconvenience as a penalty for being difficult. The good news is that the Border Patrol continues to be professional even when the "officer" is not and the fine "officer" is only left with this video. A video that clearly displays actions that are not in line with the title of being a "officer" in the military.