On 07/02/11 I crossed from Nogales, Mexico into Nogales, AZ and when I did I, as usual, I refused to answer questions unrelated to a legally required customs and citizenship declaration. The result was my being manhandled into the back room, yelled at, threatened, arrested, handcuffed, and placed in a cell. I remained in the cell for approximately forty-five minutes until a ICE Special Agent arrived and told the legally inept CBP officers that I hadn’t actually broken any laws. I wrote in detail about my arrest here.
Since my arrest I have retained the services of Attorney Keith Knowlton, a civil rights attorney in Arizona, who is pursuing a Bivens action against the Department of Homeland Security for my unlawful arrest. He requested a copy of video from the Nogales Point-of-Entry as well as my arrest report. Stunningly, they could not locate the video or an official arrest report… but they did locate the “inspection report.”
You’ll note that I was accused of murdering a federal officer (18 USC 1114) and “forcibly … impeding” a federal officer (18 USC 111) . According to the report I was let go with a verbal warning. Not bad I’d say for a homicide.
The very next day following my arrest I filed an official complaint with DHS/ICE/CBP’s Professional Standards Division regarding my illegal arrest and the unprofessional conduct exhibited by the officers. I had an over-the-phone interview on 07/03/11 and was told that an investigation was started and that I would hear back within a month.
After hearing only crickets coming from the direction of the Department of Homeland Security for approximately four months, I filed a complaint with New Hampshire United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office regarding their apparent unwillingness to investigate misconduct on the part of their own employees. I also filed a complaint with the Arizona FBI office for a violation of the criminal civil rights law, 18 USC 242. (The FBI has subsequently reported that they are not interested in investigating this further.)
I received a phone call from Senator Shaheen’s office today and was informed that ICE/CBP’s official position is that I was never arrested. This clearly is because of the misleading, inaccurate, and lying report filed by the federal officer who arrested me. I informed Senator Shaheen’s staffer that the CBP Officer lied on his report by omitting the fact that he both told me “you’re under arrest” and handcuffed me, prior to putting me in a cell. The staffer, a very nice woman named Letizia Ortiz, told me that CBP reported me as being repeatedly uncooperative when I cross the border and that it is their position that I was never arrested on 07/02/11. Their position that I was never arrested is based on the report filed by CBP Officer Aldrich.
If that is where they get their official position from, wouldn’t it also be their position that I murdered a federal officer?
Be careful when dealing with the government.