Feathered Bastard

Border Patrol, YouTube Censored Video, ACLU Says

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The McLeod video censored by YouTube and CBP

When you're member of the media and you want to hear about U.S. Customs and Border Protection's latest drug bust, you get an almost instant return call from an agent eager to answer your every question.

But if you want to ask about incidents of censorship and possible abuse of prisoners by the Border Patrol, which is a part of CBP, suddenly everyone turns into Sergeant Schultz.

Take this recent press release by the Arizona ACLU decrying the censorship of a YouTube video posted by Bisbee activist Alison McLeod.

McLeod lives on her own property, which is regularly invaded by BP agents hot on the trail of her footprints. (I kid you not.) She has the temerity to exercise her rights under the U.S. Constitution and videotape the BP putzin' about on or near her property. 

But the BP, being wannabe cops, don't cotton to this.

So, according to the ACLU and McLeod, who posts to YouTube under the handle loneprotester, YouTube jerked the video for privacy violations after the BP officers in it complained. 

McLeod's follow-up video, a hilarious must-see

Apparently the guy they were arresting had a bloody nose, and such images are not good for the BP brand. Plus, as evidence of possible wrongdoing by law enforcement, I'm sure the officers involved would like for it to go away.

Of course, I'd just love to chat with the BP about this, but, gosh darn it, the BP flack for the Tucson sector told me this issue was so sensitive it was being handled by the top flacks in D.C. 

Alas, D.C. is gone for the day. An e-mail to the BP's after-hours flack in the Capitol has yet to be returned.

I fired a similar one off to YouTube for being, well, something akin to chicken salad, but likely not as tasty. If they respond, I'll post the statement here.

Interestingly, I had gotten a couple of press releases today regarding CBP drug seizures locally, so I called the number given and was called back, well, almost immediately. Sadly, this agent knew nothing of the Bisbee lady and her video camera. Yet another Sergeant Schultz.

BTW, if you want to read about far more egregious civil rights abuses by the Border Patrol, check out my colleague Monica Alonzo's 2010 cover story "Cloaked Brutality." No wonder these guys crave anonymity.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons