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Alaska border patrol officer pulls handgun on scout, confiscates camera, detains group.

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If the video indeed shows that the CPB did everything right, then why are they refusing to show it?


Fox may well be off on some things, ask any three witnesses what happened and you will got three slightly different stories, but a drawn gun is a very memorable thing. Its not some small detail. I had an idiot point a 303 enfield in my face once and I assure you he got my entire and complete attention.


Have any of the other witnesses given any public statements yet?


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I find it interesting that the council spokesman quoted in the article (who, according to the council's web site, is the director of field service) does not seem very upset about the incident. He say

Most Northern Tier routes cross and recross the US-Canadian border' date=' yes?[/quote']




I wouldn't say most, but some do. It is possible to obtain a Remote Access Border Crossing (RABC) permit, as well as to check in with US customs in Ely on the honor system when you return. It is also possible to cross the border incidentally while using traditional border routes in the BWCAW without checking in with border authorities. These rights date back to the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. See http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/br-1842.asp



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I thought I’d weigh in as someone who lives near a border crossing, has been across many times, takes scouts across, and has some legal experience with border issues.

Probably the most important thing for anyone to understand about crossing the border is that it is constitutionally different from any other circumstance. Courts have long held, since the 1800s at least, that rules concerning searches, seizures, interrogations, documentation, and identity are different at the border compared to any place else in the country. So all the rules we think we understand about what constitutes legal or reasonable searches and seizures are probably not applicable when you are entering the country. As to whether it’s illegal to film an agent at a crossing, the ACLU is suing over whether you can do that from a public thoroughfare away from the crossing, but they’re not pursuing cases where the photographer was still on government property at the crossing. I think the ACLU has it right in this and a bunch of other filming of police cases, but the border has always been fundamentally different. Think how the rules change if you’re on a military base, then imagine orders of magnitude more.


I don’t have any problem believing that a border agent, or any law officer, overstep their bounds in the course of any given day, and so can believe that what was described happened as described and was wrong. But parsing the scout leader’s statements I can also see another side to the story.

As he describes it the chain of events is

  1. His car goes through no problem.
  2. While the second car is at the window a scout snaps a picture and so all the folks in that car are pulled over into what is often referred to as “secondary†and all the people in that vehicle are taken inside. The camera was confiscated, the driver was told to pull up and remove all scouts and the himself from the vehicle and they were detained inside.
  3. While the scouts from the detained vehicle are inside the other scouts get out of their cars “I returned to the second vehicle while it was being searched and the other boys had left their vehicles and were standing around themâ€Â
  4. The officer tells Fox he can’t observe the search, and TELLS THE OTHER SCOUTS NOT TO LEAVE THEIR VEHICLES “then he stood up and went to the vehicles to inform the scouts that the next one to leave the van would be handcuffed and detained.â€Â
  5. The leader goes inside where he watches an officer reviewing the pictures on the camera
  6. While the leader is inside, DESPITE HAVING BEEN TOLD NOT TO, one of the other scouts gets out of his car to get something out of a bag. “the officer proceeded to retrieve the scout's luggage and one of our scouts went to retrieve the bag from the roof carrier and hears a click,â€Â
  7. It’s this scout, who got out of the car after being instructed not to, who may have had a gun pulled on him.

When I take my scouts, or just my own kids, across the border, I tell them this is just like airport security but even more serious. It is a no joking, no fooling around space. Sit quietly while we go through, be polite, and answer any question they ask you. Because there is also always the possibility going either way on the border that you’ll be randomly signaled into secondary, we have a plan where if one of the cars gets pulled over everybody gets off at the next exit and waits. I would not have allowed my scouts to take a picture of the officer, and I would not have allowed any scout to get out of the vehicles at any time.

I am skeptical about the gun part, but absent that I think the scouts had as much responsibility for this incident as the CBP did.

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T2Eagle that's a good explanation of the border realities. I will take a stab at realities in Iowa.


My relatives in Iowa live outside of the supposed "100 mile Constitution free zone" and hence still live in America proper. They don't understand this "zone" that a Federal judge affirmed. They don't understand how the US border suddenly grew 100 miles wide inward. They also don't understand why American citizens would be so treated (detained for 4 hours) at the entry point to their own country (allegedly) because of pocket knives and matches. You are back in the land of the free and home of the brave and should be welcomed home where your constitutional rights not a gun greet you at the door. And yes, they are livid about an American law enforcement officer (allegedly) pulling a firearm on one of their Boy Scouts at that door.


Another $0.02,



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Not the point, my relatives tend to have the opinion that their scouts, among other youth groups, are their best kids and they protect all their kids. But if this is how you treat our best ...and the emotions take off.


Sorry that my wording was not clear.


Latest news from KCCI



"The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Homeland Security, has opened in investigation into the allegations made concerning a July 7 incident along the U.S. –Canadian Border involving Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and members of an Iowa-based Boy Scout troop. The OIG is taking the lead in the investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the CBP Office of Internal Affairs."


Too bad the Alaska State Troopers are not the lead investigators.



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RememberSchiff, you must keep in mind that this highly trained CPB agent could have been reacting with cat-like reflexes to cleverly-disguised Iowa terror cells (several of them) who in a monumentally-clever misdirect, completely bypassed all the oil and gas infrastructure being developed in North Dakota and instead brazenly stole past sleepy Canadian agents into Canada so they could drive around a thousand miles to a remote Alaska border crossing and slip undetected into Alaska so they could drive maybe another thousand miles to blow up "a certain famous pipeling running through the state above ground most of the way from the North Slope, or maybe one of the shipping ports for that particular product."


Don't snort coffee out your nose...this really could have been what happened.


FYI, anyone who wants to photograph the checkpoints that CPB agents set up away from the actual border and within that 100 mile (as the crow flies) region, feel free to do it. The CPB has this happen so often now that about the only thing they do about it is grab their own cameras to film the people taking pictures. It's really kind of comical when you think about it....those poor CPB agents reduced to 'dueling cameras'. You can find this stuff all over YouTube.

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From the website of the Transportation Safety Administration (blog.tsa.gov):



Can I take photos at the checkpoint and airport?


Unfortunately, there isn't a cookie cutter answer that can be applied to all of our screening locations and airports. It’s important to note that we know there’s a difference between someone taking a casual photo and someone doing surveillance, but if you are taking pictures at or near the checkpoint, don’t be surprised if someone (TSA, airport police, or a curious passenger) asks you what you’re up to.


We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors.


However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is.


I suggest you use the Got Feedback program to directly contact the Customer Support Manager at the airport you’re going to be traveling through. They will have an answer for you and if they don’t, they can connect you with somebody who does. Of course, if you’re a member of the press, you should contact the TSA Office of Public Affairs.


I’ve taken photographs in checkpoints, terminals, and on planes and I have never had an issue. I know some of you have and hopefully this information helps you a little.




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7/30/2014, Updated with USA Today


Investigators from Homeland Security met this morning with SM Jim Fox and SE Robert Hopper at Mid-Iowa Council http://www.midiowacouncilbsa.org/


"They said four cameras at the border recorded video of the incident. (SM) Fox told KCCI that after reviewing it, he said for him the video is inconclusive. The investigation is ongoing."


According to the USA Today article, SE Hopper after viewing video, said "(video) doesn't match the story that's been presented (by scouts).".


"At one point, one of the officers shined a flashlight into one of the vans," Hopper said. "It was after 9 at night, so maybe that was when somebody thought they saw a gun. I don't know."


"Hopper said federal investigators would be in town through Friday and had requested to meet with the Scouts who witnessed the incident."





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Thanks for posting the link to USAToday article. Seems like the SM is heading to the deep end without a floatation device. 4 videos from different angles aren't enough? Odd - but when coupled with his statement that he would not allow the suddenly TWO Scouts to talk to the federal investigators - it just makes him look bad. He's not going to have a choice in the matter. Sounds like the SE has the right idea.


As for the ACLU's "100 mile map". The nearest international border to Chicago is Detroit - about 300 miles away. Lake Michigan is not a coastal area and does not touch another country at any point (unless you call Michigan another country).

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I hate headline writers. Lying and telling the truth as you know and believe it (even if it's wrong) are two different things. If I was one of those parents, i'd be the first one in the door with my scout to meet with the investigators. Fox's actions and quotes seem to indicate he has been shown evidence that he doesn't like so he'll no longer meet with investigators? Not allow the scouts to? What? Something is not right in Iowa. He's needs someone better counseling him.

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I'm very troubled if, somehow, he is trying to prevent his scouts from speaking out. The first amendment does not have an age limit as far as i know. We can weigh the words of children any way we choose, like we do each other, but they have a right to express themselves. I agree with duckfoot: if I was one of the parents I'd demand to meet with the CPB representatives. Something is not right in Iowa...indeed.

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I'm puzzled that other adult leaders who were on the trip are not speaking and did not view the video yesterday.


SM Fox now has legal representation, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute (Virginia).


SE Hopper had a reassuring observation

"I've been impressed with the investigation and how serious and courteous they have been," Hopper said. "One of the investigators is a scoutmaster back in Seattle. They understand how our organization works. And we both want the truth."



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