A cache of complaints against United States Customs and Border Protection newly released to the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has an unsurprising implication: America’s border patrol officers act just as recklessly, and with just as little punishment as its cops.
The ACLU sued CBP to obtain 142 complaints made against the federal agency between 2011 and 2014, which describe officers who used “improper gunplay, racial profiling, excessive roughness and verbal abuse” when stopping drivers at checkpoints inside the U.S., the New York Times reports. The Times describes several of the individual complaints:
Last year, in southeastern Arizona, a military veteran said his children shuddered with fear in the back seat as agents repeatedly asked him if the children were really his. A woman at a checkpoint between Phoenix and Tucson said an agent threatened to use a stun gun on her brother in 2012 after he asked why their vehicle was being searched. And at a California checkpoint in 2013, a man said an agent approached him, hand on his holstered weapon, and demanded: “How would you like to have a gun pointed at your face?”
ACLU attorneys also accuse CBP of underreporting its alleged misdeeds: in 2012, the agency publicly reported only three accusations of Fourth Amendment violations by border patrol agents, while the ACLU’s documents show 81 such complaints in just two districts that year.
Only one of the officers implicated in the 142 complaints appears to have been disciplined, according to the Times: an unlucky soul who stopped a truck that happened to be owned by a retired border patrol agent’s son.