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More Videotape Released in Alleged Border Patrol Checkpoint Beating of PreacherTim King Salem-News.com
This is a follow up to an earlier report about an incident in mid-April involving Border Patrol agents and police officers from the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A Baptist minister from the Phoenix, Arizona area, received numerous injuries from police during a dramatic incident April 14th that stemmed from his refusal to submit to what he considered to be, a search of his private property, and a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Steven Anderson is an American Civil Rights crusader.
But in the eyes of some who commented on our earlier story, presumably from the law enforcement community, Civil Rights crusader equates to something short of dirty rotten thug. (Preacher Says he Was Beaten and Tortured by Arizona DPS & Border Patrol Agents - Social Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com)
The Border Patrol agents who initially stopped Anderson's car at the checkpoint in April, reportedly used a drug dog to get a "hit" on his car, which they said warranted his pulling into the secondary inspection area.
The Civil Rights minded minister didn't get that far that night, and the idea that he was tased multiple times while his face was ground into the jagged glass of the car window broken by police, is what we are talking about. That is what Anderson says happened, and based on the video and the injuries, it appears entirely possible.
The sounds coming from this man as he is repeatedly tased by the law enforcement representatives is pretty tough to listen to.
When he was released from police custody and allowed to go home to his wife and five children, Anderson looked like he'd been through the mill, and was clearly the victim of what appeared to be serious, physical abuse.
One person commenting on the story who didn't use a name said, "He got a few cuts on his head because he resisted and now he is crying about it and making a national media circus about it."
'Mike' wrote, "The preacher got what he deserved!!" and an anonymous poster wrote, "I live in the United States also Mr. King. Mr. Anderson wasn’t what you and he referred to as “beaten” he was arrested. Sometimes using the force necessary to affect an arrest result in a few injuries… can you understand that?"
'Voice of Reason' wrote, "I have never been treated with anything but respect by the Border Patrol and have never witnessed anything like this man described happening to anyone. I have seen numerous people detained for further questioning and searches and have seen countless arrests and nothing like this have I seen. I'm not buying his story."
But all of the comments are not supportive of what happened. Not at all, in fact.
A contrasting comment came from 'Dave' who wrote, "Many have said that he intentionally provoked the BP agents, that he is a jerk, that he should have allowed them to trample his rights.
"How very wrong they are. Pastor (Anderson) knew his rights, and that citizens' rights are inalienable. This idea of a BORDER CHECKPOINT 120 miles inside the border is ludicrous at best. YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE!"
'Jeff' wrote, "Great story. It's amazing how few Americans value our precious liberties. Thanks to brave men like Pastor Stevens for standing up for our right!"
'Mike H.' echoed similar words with, "Wow. Obviously this is not right. What happened to this man is not fair and is highly unconstitutional. I guess they just want us to be cowardly, submissive bitches and say, 'Yes, officer' 'Yes, sir.' 'Go ahead, search my car without probably cause.' What happened here is messed up. I know they have to be strict and practice their command presence but that is ridiculous."
That is just a glimpse of the comments on my original Social Perspective published April 22nd 2009. Sometimes the comments become as interesting as the actual story, we have learned.
If you watch the video and see Anderson's mostly calm but determined demeanor, you might agree that he doesn't look like much of a threat. Police on the other hand, say you can't always tell when someone is a threat just by looking. Either way, the choice to assert his rights to the final degree, left Anderson with 11 stitches and extensive bruises and abrasions.
Many people who commented on the story and sent emails accuse me of being anti-cop and that is anything but the truth. Accuse me of writing that what happened to Anderson seems extremely excessive; and you have me dead to rights.
It seems obvious that police officers who are incapable of personal restraint, especially in the form of physical reprisal and out and out revenge beatings, have no business wearing a uniform or carrying a gun.
In the end I suspect we will learn that it was preposterous to suggest that the action taken against Anderson was the only option for these law enforcement professionals.
It is also impossible to state or claim that the preacher didn't know what was coming down the line from these officers. Maybe he did violate the law, maybe the police did violate his rights; even the rights of all Americans who are forced to stop at Border Patrol checkpoints, but that is another matter next to the alleged physical abuse.
Anderson is an average size man. It seems like a much more thoughtful approach could have been taken to removing him from his car. But he had riled Border Patrol agents a few days earlier by refusing to roll his window down at the a federal checkpoint, and he wasn't allowed to pass 'go' in this game.
It should be noted that according to Zsuzsanna Anderson, the Pastor's wife, this next clip of footage is not from the actual camera, one of which is shown at right, but from a disc provided by Arizona DPS.
She says in spite of repeated requests, her husband's two $400 video cameras remain in police custody.
It is an element from this case that suggests police could be holding onto cards that they don't want the other players to see. It seems that if the police went to the trouble of dubbing Pastor Anderson's footage to disc, they could have kept that as evidence and released his property. That is not the case.
Here is the clip from Anderson's camera:
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