FTCA Administrative Complaint against CBP and Border Patrol for False Arrest at a Greyhound Bus Station

FTCA Administrative Complaint against CBP and Border Patrol for False Arrest at a Greyhound Bus Station

On June 20, 2018 the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a claim under the FTCA on behalf of Andres Sosa Segura, who was unlawfully seized and detained by Border Patrol agents at an intermodal transit station in Spokane, Washington.

Sosa, a resident of Washington, traveled regularly to Montana for work. On his return trip from Montana, after disembarking a bus at the Spokane station to make a transfer, Sosa was approached by Border Patrol agents who began to interrogate him about his legal status. Sosa had been the only Latinx-appearing passenger on the bus. He asserted his right to remain silent and showed the agents a “know your rights” card. Upon viewing the card, one of the agents called Sosa “illegal,” and both agents positioned their bodies so he could not leave, even once putting their hand on their gun as though to imply the use of force if Sosa did not comply.

The agents continued to question Sosa and to threaten him with deportation, even after he disclosed he had already been released from immigration detention and had an ankle monitor. They eventually drove him to a detention facility an hour away from the bus station and continued to detain him for several hours while they verified he had been released from immigration detention on bond. Eventually, Sosa was driven back to the Spokane bus station and released, though he had already missed all buses back to his home. The complaint letter asserts that Sosa experienced humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages during the time he was falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned.

Counsel: ACLU of Washington|Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Contact: Matt Adams | Northwest Immigrant Rights Project | matt@nwirp.org

Press:

 

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Jacobson, et al. v. DHS, et al.

Jacobson, et al. v. DHS, et al.No. 14-02485 (D. Ariz., filed Nov. 20, 2014) & No. 16-17199 (9th Cir., filed Nov. 30, 2016)

This is a First Amendment case brought against DHS, CBP, and certain named officials for their interference with the plaintiffs’ right to protest, observe, and record activity at the U.S. Border Patrol’s checkpoint on Arivaca Road near the Arizona-Mexico border. Although CBP claims that this checkpoint is temporary, it has been in continuous existence for seven years. Many residents of Arivaca must drive through the checkpoint every day to reach jobs, schools, and shops. The plaintiffs are members of an Arivaca, Arizona community organization that organized a “checkpoint monitoring campaign” in response to a number of complaints of civil rights abuses by agents at the checkpoint. A number of these incidents were detailed in an administrative complaint filed with DHS Office of Inspector General and DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

As part of the checkpoint monitoring campaign, volunteers stood on a public right of way adjacent to the Arivaca Road checkpoint and took notes, photographs, and video recordings of the actions of Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint. Other individuals, also standing on the public right of way, held up signs protesting the checkpoint. Soon after beginning their monitoring activity, Border Patrol agents ordered the volunteers and protestors to move to a spot much further away, where the monitors would have difficulty observing what was happening at the checkpoint. The agents enlisted the assistance of a local law enforcement officer, who also ordered them to move to another spot. The monitors and protestors complied with this order.

Plaintiffs brought this suit, alleging that the defendants interfered with their First Amendment right to protest, observe, and record law enforcement activity in their community. They seek an injunction that would prevent Border Patrol agents from restricting their monitoring activity on the public right of way. In January 2015, Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction.  After oral arguments in April, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion in September 2015, finding that the Border Patrol’s policy was a valid “time, place, and manner restriction” on Plaintiffs’ speech.

On January 4, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to Defendants’ motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment.

On September 30, 2016, the district court granted Defendants’ motions and entered judgment against the Plaintiffs. On November 30, 2016, Plaintiffs appealed the District Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefing was completed in August 2017. The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on December 5, 2017 in San Francisco.

On February 13, 2018, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment to defendants, remanding the case to allow discovery to proceed.

Related documents:

Counsel: ACLU of Arizona, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and Covington and Burling.

Contact: Mitra Ebadolahi | ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties | mebadolahi@aclusandiego.org

Kathy Brody | kbrody@acluaz.org

Askins and Ramirez v. DHS, et al.

Askins and Ramirez v. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 12-CV-2600 W BLM (S.D. Cal., filed Oct. 24, 2012) & No. 16-55719 (9th Cir., filed May 17, 2016)

This case is about preserving the fundamental First Amendment right to hold our government accountable at the border and challenging CBP’s abusive behavior of those who seek to exercise these rights. Ray Askins is a U.S. citizen and an activist concerned about environmental issues at the border. While standing on a public street in Calexico (inside the United States), he took photographs of the Calexico Port of Entry building to illustrate a presentation he planned to give on vehicle emissions at ports of entry. Christian Ramirez is a U.S. citizen and human rights activist who, while standing on the U.S. side of the border, photographed male CBP officers improperly frisking female travelers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

When they took their photographs, both Mr. Askins and Mr. Ramirez were on the United States side of the border, in areas open to the public. In both cases, CBP officers detained, harassed, and threatened them, temporarily confiscated their cameras, and deleted their photographs. CBP officers also physically abused Mr. Askins. The case seeks to prevent CBP from interfering with or otherwise suppressing the public’s lawful recording of federal border officials’ public activities. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages on behalf of Mr. Askins.

In September 2013, the district court denied in part and granted in part the government’s motion to dismiss. The government then filed a motion for clarification of the court’s order on the motion to dismiss.

In April 2014, the district court granted in part and denied in part the government’s motion for reconsideration. In this order, the district court reaffirmed its First Amendment analysis in its September 2013 order on the government’s motion to dismiss. The court, however, ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefs relating to Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claims.  The parties filed supplemental briefs in late spring 2014.

In January 2015, the district court issued another order granting in part the government’s motion for reconsideration. This order addressed Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claims.

Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint responsive to the district court’s orders. Once more, the government moved to dismiss, and Plaintiffs opposed.

In March 2016, the district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ first amended complaint. Plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit; they filed their opening brief on September 26, 2016. The CATO Institute and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed amicus briefs in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants. Appellate briefing was completed in February 2017. On February 16, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on Plaintiff’s appeal to S.D. Cal’s dismissal of the first amended complaint. As of April 2018, the Ninth Circuit’s decision is pending.

Counsel: ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties

Contact:  Mitra Ebadolahi | ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties | mebadolahi@aclusandiego.org