Saturday, June 13, 2009
It seems the Department of Homeland Security has created what has become known as "Constitution Free Zones." It seems as if DHS has taken it upon itself to not only harass certain individuals entering and exiting the US-Mexico border, it has gone as far as to beat and tase mercilessly a Baptist Pastor. In fact this Pastor, Pastor Steve Anderson of Phoenix, Arizona has had run-ins with other officers at other checkpoints. In watching these videos one must ask, who is in the wrong? In the case of Pastor Anderson, anyone who watches the video of his deplorable tasing can only conclude that Pastor Anderson was in the right. How? Many have, and some still consider authority figures like Police officers to be individuals to look up to. In days gone by children were taught that of the strangers you could approach police officers and their various equivalents could be approached freely in times of need or duress. But it seems that today more police officers desire or are unknowingly shedding the shield and armor of the public servant, for the helmet and club of the mercenary. In Pastor Anderson's case he dared to question the word of such individuals. In one case he was blatantly accused of being a terrorist for citing his fourth amendment rights. The straw that broke the camels back was his highly unfortunate tasing and brutal treatment at the hands of DHS border patrol agents and Arizona Depart of Public Safety officers. To give you a short background Pastor Anderson was stopped on the night in question. He was then told that a drug-sniffing dog had alerted to the presence of a human body or drugs somewhere on or in his vehicle. Pastor Anderson calmly challenged this and requested that the dog be brought out again and the inspection performed again. This request was denied. When he calmly refused to exit his vehicle, he was told he was being placed under arrest. Under arrest for what? For simply not complying with orders given from one of the officers. He was tased, brutalized and left to sit in a jail cell over night, and now must endure a long set of legal proceedings to vindicate himself.
In case anyone is wondering Pastor Anderson was not coming from Mexico. In fact the "Border Checkpoint" was fifty miles from Mexico and parallel to the route he was taking.
According to a "Raw Story" article the "Constitution Free Zones," "exists within 100 miles of the US border, where DHS claims the authority to stop, search and detain anyone for any reason. Nearly two-thirds of the US population lives within 100 miles of the border, according to the ACLU, and the border zone encompasses scores of major metropolitan areas and even entire states," citing information compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union. (Link)
The image of police officers as upholders of the law, and as trustworthy men and women is slowly being eroded away, if it is not gone already, and is being replaced with the image that police officers are simply bullies with badges. The notion that one must comply, cannot invoke their Constitutional rights, lest they be thoroughly thrashed and utterly embarassed does not only a great disservice to the American people, but furthers the odds of unfortunate events taking place, lives being lost, and families being made to weep, as a result of the distrust of authorities.
You can see video of Pastor Anderson being called a terrorist for invoking his 4th Amendment rights his merciless tasing here at the Anderson families youtube channel.