A local Baptist pastor who was left bloodied and indignant Tuesday night after a stop at the Border Patrol's checkpoint on eastbound Interstate 8 wonders in a recent video, "Why is this happening in the United States of America?"
New Times readers who remember our February 2008 article on the infamous checkpoint know the answer: Because of a disputed -- but still potent -- U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
As the article states, the Border Patrol was granted an exception to normal Fourth Amendment procedures, allowing the agency to set up checkpoints with trained dogs on any road within 100 miles of the international border. Funding for drug-and-human-sniffing dogs increased after the 9/11 attacks, resulting in thousands of recreational pot users -- and few criminals or illegal immigrants -- getting busted at the Interstate 8 checkpoint.
Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, 2707 West Southern Avenue in Tempe, presumably doesn't use drugs or smuggle undocumented workers into the country. His offense was to demand a Constitutional right that doesn't apply near the border.
In a YouTube video Anderson made and posted yesterday, the pastor narrates a tale that should send chills down the spine of any American.
While driving through the checkpoint, located about 70 miles east of Yuma, a Border Patrol dog "alerted" to the pastor's vehicle, and agents instructed him to pull his car over to an inspection area. Anderson refused, claiming the dog had seemed mellow and that the agents had no right to search him. Agents blocked his path for an hour until an officer from the Arizona Department of Public Safety showed up, Anderson says.
The lawmen broke his vehicle's windows with hammers, shot him with a Taser and threw him to the ground, he says.
"He's got his foot on my head," Anderson says of one officer. "I'm shot by more Tasers again... They're just torturing me with these Tasers again and again."
Anderson doesn't make it clear who's doing the brutalizing, whether Border Patrol agents or state troopers or both. His vehicle was searched, but no contraband was found, he says.
His forehead bleeding from cuts, Anderson was arrested and driven to an urgent care facility in Yuma. A DPS trooper ignored his desperate pleas to be allowed to urinate until Anderson was in pain, he says.
The pastor received 11 stitches and spent the night in jail. He has an arraignment tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Yuma, at which he'll plead not guilty to whatever charge they try to throw at him.
Perhaps God will be on his side, even if the Supreme Court isn't.
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(Click here for 4/17/09 update).