Pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe, Ariz., says he was Tasered, assaulted and denied medical treatment after he refused to submit to a search by Border Patrol officers at an immigration checkpoint east of San Diego. The ACLU has called the area a “Constitution-free zone” where such abuse has become commonplace.
For related stories, check out an amazing Twitter feed by “Injust_Seattle,” which collects reports of alleged police and Border Patrol abuses across the country.
The pastor of a Baptist church in the Phoenix area says he was stopped at an internal Border Patrol checkpoint, Tasered and beaten. Steven L. Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, was returning from San Diego on Interstate 8 when he was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint—a common but controversial feature of what the ACLU calls the “Constitution-free zone” within 100 miles of the U.S. border, where law-enforcement authorities conduct suspicion-less searches in defiance of traditional protections for individual rights.
Anderson says that, after he stood on his constitutional rights and declined to answer questions at the checkpoint, Border Patrol agents brought over a dog and claimed the animal had sniffed out either drugs or a human body in his trunk. Anderson refused to permit a search, at which time DPS (highway patrol) officers were summoned. The officers broke out his car windows and the pastor was Tasered and beaten before being arrested.
Injuries are plainly visible on Anderson’s face in a video he made after the incident.
Anderson identifies three of the Border Patrol agents as C. Diaz, B. Griffiths and E. Gomez. He is due in court today, where he plans to plead “not guilty” to all charges.