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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds garcia technopeasant

i loved your son for his sturdy arms

Oh, good gravy. Apparently, my friend and colleague Dr. Peter Watts is in some fairly serious legal trouble with the US Border authorities, who allegedly beat him, pepper sprayed him, and detained him--and are now charging him with assault of a federal officer.


...well, you know the drill. Help if you can, pass the word, and remember: making an absolutely enormous stink about this kind of abuse really can't hurt.

Eta: Peter's version of events.

Making Light on same.


Good God. Don't these people have any real threats to deal with? Jesus wept.
Good lord. Welcome to Michigan.
why was he searched by Americans when he was entering Canada?
He could have been smuggling out our lack of healthcare!

Fwiw, I was searched by Americans when entering Canada about 20 years ago to see the Dead.


In either instance, I'm still left scratching my head. That should've been done by our side's people, Canada Customs as was, Border Services Canada as is nowadays.


was wondering that myself, actually.

Re: I

I used to cross it a lot, when we were in Vermont, and they never even had us slow down, just waved us through. Does not compute, unless they have new rules..

Re: I

Yes. They have new rules.

It's a huge fucking pain in the ass to get across now, and I avoid it whenever possible.
All it takes is one wrong comment or oddness, and border guards on either side will pull you over (I got 'tude & an "empty your bags" from the Canadian side last year). But this... this is well beyond the usual "we're bored, and you look funny" stuff any border is prone to. I'm hoping for a full report, so we can direct our ire properly.
Same crossing I use to go to ACUS every year. The car gets searched going into the US most years.


I need to give serious thought about whether or not I still want to go south for the stuff I have planned.

This is my nightmare every time I leave the country, actually -- that I won't be let back in. I got some Serious Attitude from the border guy at DTW when I came back from Japan 2 years ago ("Why were you over there? What were you doing? Who were you with?"). My instinct was to give him Attitude back, but thankfully common sense prevailed.

I sincerely hope that when all the facts of this case are known, it's revealed that Dr. Watts also let common sense prevail.
Especially with the "Dr" in front of his name. Border guards are not always, alas, among the creme of the crop. They also have any sense of humor they were born with drilled out of them, first month on the job.

In no way excuses any of it, of course

(I am a little worried about some of the repostings/retweets I'm seeing, tho, which are saying "jailed" as in "Peter is still being held." My understanding is that his car was impounded and he is being charged, but released, not thrown into a 3x3 cell and left to rot).
I wonder if there's some sort of mistaken identity/wrong place at the wrong time thing happening here ... if the border agents had gotten an alert to be on the lookout for someone approximating his description, and got stupid about the whole thing.

I hope it all works out for him. Sigh.
You ought to hear the abuse I've been giving for being an American who chooses to live in Britain. The last time I was there, for my mother's funeral, was all right because I told the woman right away that I lived in England, but I was returning for my mom's funeral. She was very nice. But I've had others practically berate me for not living in the US.

And the time Ian was leaving Newark with me when he had his old passport with the expired Iranian visa in it? Oy. It was pretty bad. What would it have been like if he had darker skin, hair and eyes? :(
Yep. I've been told I should live in the US. *sigh* I've been told that my British husband should move here. *sigh* And the time leaving Newark in 2003 because he had the expired Iranian visa due to having had to go to Iran for work for one week, oy. As I tried to explain to the security folks, it is not illegal for British citizens to visit Iran.

I have dual citizenship and two passports now, thankfully. I use the British passport for visiting everywhere but the US.
As a Canadian I find this outrageous... mitigated only by my not knowing the details of the charges or the evidence regarding the alleged assault(s). Still, I certainly hope that Dr. Watts consults the Canadian Consulate in Detroit regarding his options.

-- Steve has had both good and bad encounters with US Border security, and could see this happening if one got a rotten enough egg "inspecting" him.
You have scary police in your country!

As a foreign national, one thing you can do is write the US ambassador to your country and express dismay.

If the spirit moves you.
I wondered about writing to the embassy, but it might be counter-productive. Sadly, there is quite often a 'butt out foreigner' reaction, unless one is someone famous.
Did he cross in Detroit? I've heard horror stories about that particular US/Canada Border control.
Oh, yeah. Detroit. A close friend of mine was bullied into surrendering her green card and they tried to get her to sign a statement saying that this was of her own free will. Because we must be protected from 90 lb Czech Economist Girls. They are scary and might blow us up.
He crossed at Port Huron, not Detroit. Port Huron is about an hour northeast of Detroit.
This is awful. I remember once being stopped and having our car searched (with drug-sniffing dogs, no less) when crossing to go to a music festival with friends.

None of us did drugs; it was surreal. They confiscated a couple of my bracelets, because they were metal and "could be wrapped around the knuckles and used as a weapon". I was boggled, but at least nothing worse happened - and I was able to sign for them and pick them back up on our way home.

Tweeted about this and donated a small bit, too.
Reposted, with links (and quoting you re: the drill).

Keep us updated on the situation, please.
Forwarding links.
Thing is- it's not even just the border patrol.

Currently there's a case here in MA when the cops pulled someone over for a sobriety check, and his passenger- who may or may not have been smoking weed at the time- objected to this and tried to wal away after some hassle. While walking away, he swore at the cops. The cops then arrested him (for swearing??? apparently) and then beat him so that he died in custody.

This is not the only recent account of cops arresting people for swearing; there was a Harvard professor who underwent the same thing, when a cop was leaning on him *in his own house*.

Apparently getting mad at cops, no matter what they do, is illegal here in MA.

I am outraged... and very, very scared.
Yeesh and more yeesh.

A reporter from the local Port Huron newspaper tried to follow up on this story. Neither Peter Watts nor the C&BP folks returned his calls. The local cops wouldn't release their report, but it apparently claimed Peter was entering the US while Peter says he was exiting:
Neither Watts nor U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials returned phone calls Friday seeking comment about the Tuesday incident. Port Huron police Capt. Jim Jones would not provide the Times Herald with a copy of a police report about the incident Friday. But, he read the police report to a reporter.

Jones said Watts was crossing into Michigan from Point Edward when he was selected at random for a secondary Customs inspection.


Somebody's got their story bass-ackwards. I'd personally assume that Peter knew which way he was going...
Ir does seem likely.