Home / Border Patrol Agent Fears Camera Phone Could be Weapon

Border Patrol Agent Fears Camera Phone Could be Weapon

A Border Patrol agent claimed he was in fear for his life when a man started video recording from a back seat of a car during an inland immigration checkpoint in Texas last week.

“I don’t know if it’s a weapon, if it’s a knife or if it’s a gun. Let me have your phone,” the agent said.

But the man with the phone, a popular libertarian activist named Tony Stiles who was traveling to Florida from California for a speech he was going to give – never once crossing the border into Mexico –  refused to hand it over.

“You know full well it’s not a fucking weapon,” Stiles responded. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Of course he knew it wasn’t a weapon. He was just using the tiresome excuse that makes police look like lying bullies.

The exchange begins at 1:20. Stiles continued recording for several more minutes after they were forced out of the car to allow agents to search it, claiming their dogs had smelled drugs in the car.

They were eventually arrested for marijuana possession.

According to Ben Swann:

One of the agents attempted to take Stiles’ phone from him. The agent claimed that he was unsure if it was a weapon, but Stiles refused to surrender it. Stiles was able to take video of their forced exit from the vehicle and the following search.

After exiting the vehicle, the three men watched as the DHS agents began searching the vehicle without consent. Stiles said the video shows one of the agents taking his hand out of his pocket suspiciously while a red bag was being searched. After the search, the agents told the men that marijuana had been found in the vehicle. Stiles affirmed to Benswann.com that neither he, Goodrich or Styles had any marijuana in their possession. The three were arrested and brought to the Sierra Blanca holding facility, where they were held in separate cells for over seven hours.

The men were released after Goodrich eventually took the marijuana possession charge. While the men maintain their innocence, Stiles told Benswann.com that if none of them took the charge they would have all been held for days while waiting for a judge. The decision was made after gathering legal advice from multiple sources.

 

 

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.
  • nosepicker

    This video is heavily edited so its hard to form much of an opinion. I am suspicious of people who edit videos and leave so much out.

    • rust

      Keep picking your nose, idiot. Who cares if the video is edited. NONE OF IT IS FABRICATED.

      • nosepicker

        I didn’t say it was fabricated but its edited and therefore conclusions shouldn’t be reached.
        Yes the officer was an idiot for claiming the camera could be a gun but that’s all I take away from this video.
        Looks like these guys tried to play the “assert our rights game” and lost badly. These guys are amateurs and need to work on their game.

        • putaro

          The only way you can win the “assert our rights game” is if the government agents involved play by the rules. If they decide to break the rules then your rights are toast.

          • LibertyEbbs

            That is very true, but only to a point.

            If I may tweak this a bit: The only way the government can win the “break the rules game” is if the people decide that it is within the government agent’s rights. If the people decide that they are no longer okay with this, then the bullshit LE abuses are toast (by toast in this regard I mean diminished.)

          • theaton

            We can not get to the point where the people are no longer okay with this if those affected continue to take plea agreements. That’s why LEO’s do what they do, they pile on charges and know the morons will take a plea. If you believe in rights, two days in jail is a small price to pay for those rights. Many have paid a much higher price establishing and defending our rights. Let me ask you, if a cop plants a murder weapon on you and you are charged with 1st degree murder are you going to plead to second degree murder? At what point are rights worth standing up for?

          • LibertyEbbs

            Of course, in each case it is a matter of looking at the balance sheet. Accepting a citation for possession vs. staying in the custody of these animals for two days is not anything at all like pleading to 2nd degree murder. False equivalence.

          • theaton

            I didn’t say they were equivalent, I asked at what point are rights worth standing up for?

          • LibertyEbbs

            We all have the right to choose the hills we are willing to die on and I try very hard not to criticize anyone for making their own choices in these matters.

          • theaton

            I didn’t say they didn’t have the right to take a plea. Why post the video? Do the expect others to fight their battle for them?

          • kraz

            While I agree with what you’re saying, once you’ve been charged you can end up waiting in jail for many months especially if there is no bail or you can’t afford the bail which many can’t. Fair and speedy trial doesn’t exist in a lot of bigger cities especially.

          • theaton

            In other words, we leave the broken system broken for convenience? That’s all the cops are doing, they are saying the phone is a weapon for convenience. If the guys weren’t in possession, they allowed the violation of the law. There is little difference between that and the cop violating the law.

          • kraz

            Of course we don’t leave the system broken for convenience. That’s absurd and I am one to do whatever is in my power to change it. My point is it’s not always 2 days and with reality people have careers and families to feed so some cannot afford to spend sometimes up to a year or more waiting in jail. They take the plea so they don’t lose their jobs, homes and everything else important to them. For those able to get out, I say fuck plea bargains. Take everything to trial. Demolish the system.

        • Voice-Of-Concern

          Assertion of rights is not a game. It’s Patriotism in action.

          • theaton

            Asserting your rights while carrying an illegal substance is not a smart way to be a patriot. We can argue that pot should not be illegal but at present it is, without a prescription.

          • LibertyEbbs

            Are you really that comfortable with assuming this pot really was the possession of one of the victims here? The two men uttered no bald-faced lies that I heard during the exchange while several of the statements of the LEO’s were dishonest and laughable. Yet, we are expected to take their word that two guys recording and asserting their rights were holding? Come on.

          • theaton

            I don’t take the LEOs at their word on anything. I certainly do not trust LEOs to use canines properly. I don’t agree with the courts but they have said that LEOs can lie to the public.

            I didn’t make the assumption, that one or more were carrying, lightly. The “taking a plea” was the weightiest evidence. The editing of the video with no link to the full video went into my decision as well.

          • LibertyEbbs

            Not agreeing to stay locked up for 2 days in the hands of this troop of baboons that just proved to you they have absolutely no qualms about lying or planting contraband is, to you, evidence of guilt? Are you fucking serious?

          • Kerfufflulator

            Nope.

            Every person can & should assert their rights, consistently.

            Asserting our rights should NEVER be cause for suspicion.

            Refusing to answer questions (5th Amendment) does not make someone suspicious, much less guilty.

            Objecting to unlawful search (4th Amendment) does not mean one is holding contraband.
            I don’t answer questions & I don’t consent to searches. I am a straight edge boy scout. And I will assert my rights every damn time.

            And even if one is guilty of holding contraband, you still have rights and you should still assert your rights. every damn time. That’s kind of the point of rights, after all.

          • theaton

            Nowhere did I imply that they were suspicious. I don’t see where they objected to any search. I agree that we should assert our rights at all times. I could have worded my comment better. If you are holding and you assert your rights, you better be willing to go the distance. Knowing that cops will do anything to harm the public, it is wise to have more than 1 or 2 cameras running.

    • Carlos_Miller

      The editing is most likely to keep us from watching 20 minutes of boring video. They just kept the exciting parts.

      • nosepicker

        Maybe so but it prevents us from knowing if the search was lawful or not. Based on whats presented in the video and the article I would say the guys in the SUV are as dumb as the police officers.

        • Difdi

          Agreed. A better way to do it is to post the edited version with a link to the raw video.

          • discarted

            On the other hand, and I can attest to this, by posting the entire video, you give the cops the opportunity to watch the whole video and formulate their lies and build their version of what happened. They figure out when the video starts and stops and then start inventing a reality outside of the footage that never happened. I personally experienced this during a federal lawsuit and will no longer post full videos until sworn statements are made by officers—and either myself or my attorneys have possession of those statements. Which is what I’m doing in my current lawsuit against LAPD. Let the officers bury themselves with their lies.

          • Onus News Service

            You fruitcake ass. You’re nothing compared to Daniel Saulmon!

          • discarted

            So which LASD member are you now?

          • LibertyEbbs

            Can’t you just picture him…sitting in his prowler…posting on PINAC while taking a break from frappin’ to his gay porn mag? Hero!!

          • discarted

            Yeah, a lot of the self-proclaimed “heroes” are really butt hurt that our cameras are exposing their ignorance, entitlement, and violent tendencies; particularly, the lying cowards at the LA County Sheriffs Department. Would love to see these assholes on the stand, especially Anthony Paez who was finally arrested and charged with multiple felonies.

          • Kerfufflulator

            link please

          • discarted

            These are the kind of scumbags working for LASD.

            http://ktla.com/2014/04/23/sheriffs-deputies-charged-with-planting-evidence-at-l-a-pot-shop/#axzz32CBpHLAo

            On top of unlawfully detaining me, threatening me with violence and accusing me of all kinds of things for taking pictures in public, Paez allegedly entered a South LA man’s front yard illegally (saying he doesn’t need a fucking warrant—allegedly) and shot the man multiple times, killing him—allegedly. Paez and LASD are about to be sued by civil rights attorney Humberto Guizar for the killing. In an email sent to me, Attorney Guizar also believes that Paez is a Jumpout Boy—allegedly—which is the reason why he was removed from LASD in 2013—allegedly. But LASD is in coverup/damage control with this asshole killer—allegedly.

          • discarted
          • Carlos_Miller

            This guy is a troll whom I’ve tried to block but he keeps getting through, so I will just start posting his IP address along with the other comments he is making.

            http://photographyisnotacrime.com/pinac-troll/

          • kraz

            Yes, post his IP address! This could be… interesting.

          • LREKing

            So, no privacy or anonymity for annoying trolls?

          • kraz

            It’s up to Carlos. If someone is attacking his site even after attempts at blocking him, yeah. Carlos gave fair warning that he will start posting his IP along with the troll posts so he has the chance at remaining anonymous if he stops trolling.
            Why do you ask?

          • LREKing

            Certainly, he can do what he likes with his site. But does reasoning or threatening trolls ever do any good? They appear to have emotional or mental problems that makes the attention (even negative) so rewarding that they can’t stop.

            Most commenters here should be concerned about privacy and anonymity. Doesn’t that mean equal treatment for everyone (even on private sites)? Because his IP address can be revealed, does that mean it should be? Even if he isn’t using a proxy, what will it accomplish?

            I have seen an uptick in trolls on many sites that use Disqus lately, and I think a better solution is to get them to strengthen their protocols against hijacking accounts and circumventing bans.

          • kraz

            While I am definitely for privacy and anonymity on the internet in large, I believe this is only one or two trolls and I don’t think they’re your regular trolls either. I think what we’re seeing is one or maybe two cops that were in an article on PINAC and are childishly trying to retaliate so I’m all for exposing them if they continue. They were warned. Also, I’d be surprised if they know what a proxy is or even the basics on how to hide their identity.

            I have also seen a lot of “name trolls” lately on sites that use Disqus. They definitely need to do something about the way they handle usernames because right now it is too simple for someone to use someone else’s.

          • Difdi

            A very good tactic, so long as judges don’t rule that police lies are more reliable than video evidence. It HAS happened, after all.

          • discarted

            Too true. My judge told me he knows the deputies lied in my case. He said cops lie all the time in his court room and everybody knows they’re lying. But the problem is that the DAs are their pals and they refuse to go after them. However, if I lied under oath during my depositions, I would’ve charges. Our legal/”justice” is a flawed and corrupt system propped up by a bunch of flawed and corrupt people.

        • kraz

          Maybe, but one of the main points Carlos was making was that the border patrol officer said he thought the phone could be a gun. This wasn’t edited and it’s a bullshit line that the cops are starting to use more often all over the country. If a cop pretended to fear for his life from a cell phone, I wouldn’t believe anything else of what he said or did.

          • LibertyEbbs

            ^^THIS

            If you are saying that you believe a modern cell phone could be a weapon, you are a known liar and everything else you say and do is colored by that. This man cannot be trusted and is quite impeachable as a witness.

  • inquisitor

    Two points of idiocy…

    One, let me have your PHONE because I don’t know if your PHONE could be a weapon, so give me the PHONE.

    Two, these guys weren’t high and don’t smoke weed. Cha…right.

    • rust

      It’s getting pretty tiresome that Enforcers (Idiots with Badges) keep using this “I don’t know if it’s a weapon or not” excuse. Whine… I feel afaid… Sorry, that excuse isn’t going to carry much weight.

      • Difdi

        Well, to be fair, we don’t know if they’re actually cops/agents or not. They could be criminals impersonating police so people won’t resist being abused and/or robbed.

        If the fact that a phone “could be” (but probably isn’t) a weapon is enough to justify the police to act in self-defense, then the fact that an officer “could be” an impersonator rather than a real cop would also justify a citizen to act in self-defense.

        Police don’t gain the right to self-defense from their badges, they have that right because they are members of The People. If a cop could rightly claim self-defense and use force, so could his victim.

        • $910553

          Not with the way this country’s “Legal” system works.

          • Difdi

            True. The way the law is carried out is very different from the way the law says it must be carried out.

            But is it really the time for both sides to abandon all pretense of the rule of law? Once you revert to might makes right, it’s not immoral to choose violence as a first and only resort. For them as well, not just the rest of us.

          • $910553

            I would merely point out that THEY have already done so.

            MANY times over.

    • Abz B Zbas

      I don’t know if your drug sniffing dog is a wolf or a bear or an eagle, so please put away your drug sniffing dog.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Film The Police Always

    They were set-up by OUR GOVERNMENT! They used THROW WEED to cover their tracks for violating their rights.

    • ARtP

      You’re point?

      • kraz

        “You are point?” He made his point.

      • FtP

        Not my comment

    • kraz

      I would not doubt it for one second.

      • JCFROMNJ

        There is medication for your illness

        • kraz

          Hey troll. I might feed you just this one time because you seem so desperately hungry for attention.

          • ARtP

            Why are you calling JC a troll?

          • kraz

            Sorry, feeding time is over.

          • JCFROMNJ

            You make no sense, but whatever.

          • FtP

            Not my comment.

          • JCFROMNJ

            Why are you talking to yourself?

        • JCFROMNJ

          Not my reply, Carlos you need to get on top of this. This fool only reply’s is simple low IQ comments. Can you put a few sentences together and try to form a complete paragraph ? Hope I’m not putting too much pressure on you. The REAL JCFROMNJ

        • Difdi

          Yes, there is indeed a medicine for that particular ‘illness’ — as the old saying goes:

          From time to time the Tree of
          Liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

  • tz1

    What does “took the charge” mean? Pled guilty?

    If you aren’t willing or able to follow through, you should not provoke them in the first place. Leave it to those who are.

    • nosepicker

      It means they had weed and got busted. It means they tried to play the “assert your rights” game and lost.

    • Guest

      I’d also like to know what “took the charge” means. If it means he made any statements admitting to possessing the pot that’s just about the dumbest thing he could do.

      “The decision was made after gathering legal advice from multiple sources.”

      That’s some pretty awful legal advice. And from multiple sources? Did they only consult with lawyers who got their licenses out of crackerjack boxes?

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

        Took the charge typically means took responsibility (i.e., the pleading) for the marijuana.

        The legal advice was probably that yes, DHS could hold them all for several days until they saw a judge, and that the only way to get out and be on their way was for someone to take a plea. That information would be factually correct.

        It is not the lawyer’s job to blow smoke and make them feel good, it is to advise them of what the legal consequences of various options are, including options that are not very palatable or fair. I’m sure that the lawyer’s also told them that they could fight it, and this is what it would cost, giving a figure in the thousands of dollars. During that period, the ability to travel may be restricted, drug tests may be required, etc., none of which are pleasant.

    • JCFROMNJ

      I wouldn’t get in a car for a ride with these two clowns on a bet. They didn’t think anything, and didn’t say any of the right things to cover their ass.
      Are the dog’s Junk Science stupid dog tricks,of course. Did those clowns have some “throw down Dope” for just this occasion ? Why not ? Did you cop a plea? Yep. Take a plane next time.

  • Fuck Checkpoints

    Do illegal immigrants smell like drugs? Is that why they keep drug sniffing dogs at immigration checkpoints?
    Without crossing the border we can be stopped without PC, have our vehicles searched, and be arrested? Do they even have the legal authority to order you out of your car?

    • Tijuana Joe

      Yes, these highly specialized dogs, who put their life on the line every days, can recognize
      the Cholo scent from 10 kilometers. The Cholo
      molecule is very similar to THC from marijuana, also cocaine. That’s what happened here, a minor mixup. But Thank God they nailed these evildoers.

      • JCFROMNJ

        Yea, were all safer for that. Get to sleep good tonight…I don’t know if those limo liberals had any weed on them or not,but you can’t fix stupid no matter how you try.

    • Difdi

      All US money smells like drugs — and who doesn’t carry at least a little money with them?

  • anan

    If you have drugs in your car, STFU and get through the checkpoint as fast as you can. You may be well within your rights to video record and say whatever you want, but it is simply retarded to do a mini protest while carrying drugs. You’ll have a lot less rights in prison.

    If the drugs were really not theirs, they should get drug tested immediately to use as evidence in court.

    • Joseph Murray

      How would the presence or absence of drugs in their *system* bear on whether it was in their car?

      • anan

        It would add to the credibility that they are not regular drug users and the drugs were planted. You can get your hair tested and look back many weeks into your drug use. If it is all clean, then it becomes unlikely that they happen to have drugs on them now.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Using drugs isn’t the charge – possession is what they are being charged with. A clean drug test doesn’t do them any good. The prosecutor would probably object as to relevance, or might stipulate that there was no indication of use (which would keep the test results out).

  • Christopher Shepard

    The point being, a phone is not a weapon. Sucks they broke the law. Recover.

    • JCFROMNJ

      Tell us something we don’t know stupid.

      • JCFROMNJ

        The TROLL…

  • Ron

    It’s an immigration check-point. Why are they searching for drugs? Do they think they might be Mexican drugs or something?

  • Guest

    Dogs can be taught to falsely alert.
    I believe the Suprene Court ruling regarding border and nexus stops allowed for immigration searches, not drug searches.

  • Scott Matheny

    If this was an immigration checkpoint does that mean the dogs can smell the immigration status of the people in the car?

  • Bill Larson

    The infamous cellphone gun http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/the-cellphone-gun/ Please notice it’s about 3x thicker than a standard phone. It looks like a phone from the late 80’s early 90’s and with that pull bar at the bottom it’s pretty easy to spot. Most likely this was something created by an intelligence agency and not something in general circulation. LOL those buttons… Needless to say no competently trained police officer should ever mistake a regular consumer cellphone for that.

    • JCFROMNJ

      Bill, the operative word here IS “competently trained”. Fortunately for the po po’s it’s not a big issue. Why get yourself bog down on technicalities ? LOL

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      Besides the fact that there has never been one found or known to be used in the U.S.

  • JCFROMNJ

    Why do these check point dudes have accents and look like they got smuggled into the country in a container ? Just asking ….

    • dickgosinya48

      Because they hire the rejects from law enforcement. They also like to hire spicks that can sort of speak English and Spanglish.

  • dickgosinya48

    These checkpoints have become ideal places to test IED’s.

    • JCFROMNJ

      Site some reference’s for that ….

      • dickgosinya48

        Iraq.

      • rust

        GOOD GRAMMAR! Cite some references for that…

  • kraz

    It bothers me that these checkpoints are allowed to be used for anything other than immigration status. They shouldn’t even be using them for that more than a mile away from any border as far as I’m concerned. I’d like to know the ratio of drug busts, motor vehicle offenses, etc. vs. the amount of illegal immigrants caught at these checkpoints.

    • JCFROMNJ

      Who cares that it bothers you. Then do something besides sitting on your lazy ass.

    • Checkpoint USA

      I did part of this analysis a few years ago based upon a two year study by the GAO on internal checkpoints and a town hall meeting with the report writers and members of congress in Southern Arizona. See:

      https://www.checkpointusa.org/blog/index.php/2009/09/06/p177

      Basically, the BP interdicted ~320,000 illegal border crossers in 2008 in the Tucson sector with approximately 3,000 agents. Of those 3,000 agents, ~300 were associated with internal checkpoint ops. Those 300 agents were only responsible for about 1,750 of the 320,000 interdictions made indicating that internal checkpoints were only responsible for ~0.5% of all interdictions despite utilizing ~10% of the available manpower and resources.

      They obviously played down these numbers during the public meeting & instead concentrated on the claim that the checkpoints were responsible for ~4,000 drug interdictions without admitting that the vast majority of those drug interdictions were for personal use marijuana citations prosecuted by county law enforcement:

      https://www.checkpointusa.org/blog/index.php/2008/07/04/p94#more94

      Checkpoint USA
      https://www.checkpointusa.org/blog
      https://www.youtube.com/user/checkpointusa

      • kraz

        Good work and good info. Thanks. Took me a while to get around to looking at it all because I’ve been busy.

  • BillClinton

    It will be nice when the war on marijuana is over.

    • kraz

      When the war on ALL drugs are over even.

    • ENTWAFFNUNGDERGESTAPO!

      nice sentiment, but the nazis have already doubled down with war on every other drug, endless wars on arabs and everyone else with too much hair or pigment, the constitution, the american people, truth, etc.

      what will be nice is when a lot of armed and badged criminals along with their evil-enabling handlers are strung up, mutilated, and then their remains scattered throughout the realm.

      or maybe carving swastikas into foreheads will suffice.

    • Thomas

      Then they’ll just plant crack or meth

  • Kerfuffulator

    nicely annotated video by Kenny Suiter
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwYBshAScmE

  • Reddit_Guy

    There’s a radio interview of this event here- http://www.freetalklive.com/guests/tony_stiles Kind of interesting IMHO.

  • LREKing

    “I don’t know if it’s a weapon, if it’s a knife or if it’s a gun. Let me have your phone,” the agent said.

    That sort of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    • Garnette

      It could have been a hat or a brooch… could have been anythinggggggggg cop was an idiot~

  • Rickforfree

    As someone who has been through these checkpoints and lost my job for refusing to answer questions at one of them, let me say that the Border Patrol does not have to follow the law. They have been getting away with violating Constitutional Rights and breaking the law for years and nothing has ever been done to stop them. And unfortunately never will.

    • ENTWAFFNUNGDERGESTAPO!

      and this is why all fucking nazis must fucking hang

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