Game Writer in Border Dispute

Science Fiction author Peter Watts (pictured), whose work has also appeared in videogames, was detained at the U.S./Canadian border last week after a dispute with U.S. Customs officers.

The Toronto-based author was returning to Canada, reports the Times Herald, using the Blue Water Bridge crossing when he was apparently selected for a random inspection.

This is where the story takes two different tangents depending on which side is offering the account.

Watts asserts that as the inspection began, he exited the car to ask officers what was going on. He claims they asked him to return to the car, at which point he asked them again what they were doing. Watts said that this act then resulted in him being assaulted, punched in the face, pepper-sprayed and thrown in jail for the night on charges of assaulting a customs officer.

Custom officials claim that Watts was “aggressive” from the beginning and refused to get back in his car. At this point Watts was about to be handcuffed, but resisted arrest said officials, and tried to choke an officer. This is when officers used pepper-spray.

Watts was arraigned last Wednesday, December 9, and released on $5,000 bond. He claims his computer was seized and he was released across the border in shirtsleeves.

On his blog, Watts categorically denies choking an officer and says he “looks forward” to seeing security camera footage of the incident. He is due back in court on December 22 for a preliminary injunction. If convicted, Watts faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

BoingBoing’s Cory Doctrow has jumped to Watts’ defense, donating $1,000 to his legal defense.

Watts contributed to Relic Entertainment’s Homeworld 2 and also served as a writer and art consultant for Crytek on the upcoming Crysis 2.

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  1. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    You’re the one saying that it’s a bad argument to say he should have stayed in his car because it isn’t "legally required."

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  2. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    I oppose it do I? Putting words in my mouth don’t make it so fuckwit.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  3. 0
    kagirinai says:

    "All someone would have to do is ask to see your ID"
    Questioning a police officer! Excellent, time for the pepper spray. Do you not see the irony here? I mean; it’s clear that the message takes some time to sink in, but I’m happy to make further childish analogies. It’s like linguistic limbo.

    "unless you were clearly white"
    Nationality, of course, doesn’t matter. You know what’s great? Living in a country where enshrining racism and discrimination in law is abhored. I guess you wouldn’t know what that’s like.

  4. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    But I highlighted the point you clearly oppose, that law enforcement will generally see you as a threat for getting out of your car and yelling at a police officer, and that, regardless of what happened, he’s an idiot for doing that.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  5. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    "they’d have no evidence that I *wasn’t* a cop"

    All someone would have to do is ask to see your ID.  A police officer that didn’t recognize you, perhaps.  You know, since this is a police state and all, we have the ability to look that info up.  You’d be found out within twenty minutes, jackass.

    As for your final comment, unless you were clearly white, you would be arrested on suspicion of terrorism.  That’s an extension of the powers brought on by the Patriot Act, was to redefine impersonating a police officer.  There really isn’t a lot of reasons to do that here anymore.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Again, I’m not biased.  If it did turn out that this is nothing more than police brutality, then I’d be one of the first people calling for them to be sent to jail.  However, if it turned out that this is a case of some douchebag assaulting a police officer, I’m pretty sure you’d find some rationale to still blame the federal agents.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  7. 0
    kagirinai says:

    "I’d love to see you get sent to prison for impersonating a police officer"
    Oh, but it’d never happen. No one would know who I was, and they’d have no evidence that I *wasn’t* a cop, and as you said, Police can only be questioned when you have evidence of wrongdoing.

    I’m also pretty amused that you think I’d be arrested for suspicion of terrorism. I guess because I’m clearly not from the US, I must be from… oh, the middle east. Probably brown skinned, with a thick accent and a shaggy beard. I bet I even wear a turban, right? That’s the profile isn’t it? All in the name of national security, oh yeah.

  8. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Not really.  There are people all over the world that do that all the time, and still get busted because the evidence they thought would exonerate them actually proved they did what they tried to get away with.  Just because he’s an author doesn’t mean he isn’t an idiot (indeed, he proved he is an idiot by getting out of his car and confronting armed law enforcement personnel without them saying to).

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  9. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Police can be questioned, if you ACTUALLY HAVE EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING.  I’d love to know where you live, to be able to go up to a cop like some wannabe gangster and not have him clock you in the face.

    Oh, and please come to the US wearing a cop outfit in public, because I’d love to see you get sent to prison for impersonating a police officer, not to mention (depending on where you’re from and what you were doing when you were arrested) suspicion of terrorist activities.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  10. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Yet you’re the one who’s not even considering the fact that he MAY have done something wrong to deserve what happened.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  11. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    You blamed President Bush outright.  Your comment stated that this wouldn’t have happened, until Bush’s policies came into effect.  That’s blaming him for this.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  12. 0
    kagirinai says:

    Except that he’s confident that security footage will validate his side of the story. Sounds like a pretty stupid bluff to make, since it’s easy to prove wrong.

    Definitive proof? No, not until the footage is reviewed, but it’s a stronger indication of innocence than guilt.

  13. 0
    kagirinai says:

    Do you just get used to doing whatever it is the police tell you where you live? I guess that must be the fundamental difference here — I always grew up understanding that the police have no right to detain you or order you about unless they have some sort of probable cause to.

    Random searches are dubious at best; they circumvent the idea of probably cause. (And how do you determine random? On a whim, by interval or maybe the just roll some dice?) So; you know, if you live somewhere where the police aren’t a superior class of citizen not to be questioned, you might want to know what the hell is happening when they decend on you. We don’t all have the benefit of living in a police state, we don’t all know how to properly submit to any and all authority figures.

    "Only an idiot would get out of the car and demand to know why he was stopped by the police."
    Unless the whole thing seemed baseless — random maybe? I can relate to it. And I won’t disagree that it was a bad idea. My issue is with how these border guard responded; even their version of the story sounds over the top.

    But I swear, I’m going to have to visit the states and rent a cop outfit. Apparently if you wear a badge you can do whatever you want down there.

  14. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "If anyone is truly dismissive here, it’s those defending this guy, because they all seem to forget that he’s accused of assaulting a federal agent, which they contend is WHY he was beat up.  We’re just saying that law enforcement shouldn’t be judged until it’s found out that they actually committed a crime.  You know, that whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ thing."

    Despite your claim to being objective, it’s clear you give more weight to the officers’ claims than the citizen’s claims. Otherwise you’d be saying the citizen is the one presumed innocent, as he is the one actually being accused under the law.

    You call on people to reserve their judgment, but what you’re really saying is for people to reserve their criticism of the officers until it’s proved absolutely that they did something wrong. Feh.

  15. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    1. There are other cases where police officers have been acquited of obvious wrongdoing. It’s actually very difficult for charges against cops to stick, even in cases of wrongdoing.

    2. When I speak of bias in your posts, I am considering your entire record and not just the posts to this story.

  16. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    It actually is legal in a lot of places – Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, among others for sure.  Either way, yelling at a police officer when he or she is doing their job is neither legal anywhere that I know about, or a way to not get pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested.  Again, neither is the allegation that he choked a police officer.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  17. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    They do it all the time.  Here in Minnesota, that’s totally legal, as long as they they tell you why you were pulled over before they resolve the situation, such as arresting you, giving you a ticket or sending you on your way.  The one time I’ve been present when they didn’t say why was when my dad was pulled over.  We both know he was speeding, and the police officer asked for his license and insurance.  He didn’t say why he pulled us over.  He checked my dad’s license and insurance, gave it back and let us on our way.

    The fact of the matter is they don’t have to tell you right away.  They don’t even have to respond right away, with the legal excuse of "I didn’t here him/her."  Sure, you can say that’s a lie, but good luck with that.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  18. 0
    Krono says:

    Again, in America, you don’t get out of your car unless you’re told to by the cop.  "I didn’t know it was the law" is not a valid defense anywhere.

    Nowhere in this thread to this point, have I seen anyone off proof that "don’t get out of the car unless the cop says to" is the law. It’s a good idea to follow to avoid triggering a cop’s paranoia, but it is not a legal requirement.


  19. 0
    Krono says:

    Except that judging by the article, he was not asked if they could search his car. Otherwise he wouldn’t be getting out of the car to ask what was going on, and the police report would have likely included the information that he’d given permission for a search.


  20. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    If you question them, they are required to tell you.  So if you say to them "what seems to be the problem officer?" they are not allowed to walk off and not tell you till after they come back with the ticket.

  21. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I admit, I am wary of the officer’s account in this case.  The officer’s claims run like a textbook ‘we got out of control and need post-op justification’.  Combine this with many police department’s failure to keep such behavior in check has made me deeply suspicious when it is used in a situation where the non-cop had no particular reason to be violent (no drugs or alcohol, no history/record, no contraband).

    This also comes from having spent so much time in Pittsburgh and Philly, where historically people tend to not trust the police due to decades of abuse and no real checks on them. The police in those two regions are a bit like dealing with the mob or gangs… sometimes useful but best to just stay away from them since they are unpredictable and you can not do anything about them.

  22. 0
    Neeneko says:

    *nods* it is the ‘any situation or unknown can be dangerous’ training that makes me question how well trained these officers were.  Part of that training is avoiding escalation.  If someone is potentially dangerous but not an immediate threat, you generally do not want to force a confrontation unless you have to since that can turn ‘potentially dangerous’ into ‘activly dangerous’.

    This is why most officers are trained to speak calmly and not make sudden moves unless provoked and needing to bring a situation under contorl.

  23. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    And the reason why it’s a "smart idea?"  You may end up getting your ass kicked.  That’s the gist of what AL is trying to say.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  24. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    "I fail to see your point."

    I’ll see if I can dumb it down for you.  If you get out of your car without the police telling you to, that tells them that you are a threat.  On top of that, the police claim he assaulted one of them.  That will get you beat up and arrested.  What AL, Valdearg and I are saying is that A) this whole situation may have been avoided had he stayed in the car, and B) if he did assault a federal agent, he got what’s coming to him.  The accusation isn’t that this happened solely because he got out of his car and didn’t go back in, but because he assaulted a federal agent.  If this did happen, it may have happened before they had the chance to resolve this peaceably.  Would you suggest that a law enforcement officer should not defend his or herself?  Your posts seem to allude to this train of thought.

    Also, your last point is as meaningless as it is asinine.  Only an idiot would get out of the car and demand to know why he was stopped by the police.  That’s our whole point of contention here.

    If anyone is truly dismissive here, it’s those defending this guy, because they all seem to forget that he’s accused of assaulting a federal agent, which they contend is WHY he was beat up.  We’re just saying that law enforcement shouldn’t be judged until it’s found out that they actually committed a crime.  You know, that whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  25. 0
    Neeneko says:

    And this is why people do not take you or your arguments seriously.

    I did not even ‘blame bush’, but pointed out that during Bush’s presidency, in order to fill various mandates,  the border patrol was both expanded with less trained people (budget did not keep up with hiring mandates or timetables) and focus changed.    Peronsally I blame scared voters and the theater it took to make them feel ‘safe’.

  26. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    There’s a difference between saying that Bush’s policies extended the scope of border patrol and the TSA and saying that Bush caused this particular incident.  The poster’s comment suggested the latter.  That’s where my comment came from.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  27. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    The law ISN’T above the law in this country.  This as been proven by Rodney King, OJ Simpson and Barack Obama.  Rodney King led police on a high-speed chase after a botched drug bust, and, even though he hit innocent people, he sued the police for beating him up afterwards.  OJ Simpson got away with two murders because the LAPD has used the word "nigger."  Barack Obama insinuated himself in a situation involving a black professor and a white cop, saying the cop was in the wrong, even though it later came out he was right.  I don’t know what you’re talking about, "the law is above the law."

    Also, my posts haven’t been biased.  I called the author on what he did wrong (getting out of his car before being told), and have explained as best I can to idiots like you why that’s a bad idea.  Also, you keep talking about police brutality, but you always choose to ignore the fact that HE WAS ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING A FEDERAL AGENT.  It doesn’t matter how nice a federal agent is, he’s going to kick your ass if you hit/choke him, as he’s been accused of doing.  What I’m telling you, that you seem too biased to listen to, is that we can’t judge anyone on the merits of this situation UNTIL HE’S BEEN TRIED.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  28. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    You haven’t been considering any comments on it’s merits.  Your anti-law-enforcement bias proves that.  You see a police officer doing something you don’t believe it’s right, so it doesn’t matter that he may have had reason to do so.  I’m the one saying that we should reserve judgement of both parties until one side has been proven false.  I have judged the writer FOR BEING AN IDIOT, because he got out of his car without being told to, but that’s only because neither party dispute that.  That is the only fact about this that we know.  You, however, have already deemed the border agents guilty in this manner.  That’s why I dismiss everything you say.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  29. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I’ve been pulled over WAAAAY more than four times, and every time has been exactly as I’ve described.  Yes, they have to tell you what they pulled you over for, but they do NOT have to tell you that immediately after coming up to your window.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  30. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    "Officers have the right to use as much force as necessary to arrest you, but no more."

    Exactly right, but you aren’t arrested till you’re in a holding cell.  Up until that point you are still treated as if you can cause damage, which you can.  Getting the cuffs put on.  Getting put in the car.  These are all steps taken up until you’re actually arrested, and the police have the right to administer as much force as they deem necessary to get that to happen.

    But as for the officer’s judgement part, I simply retort that I said that they’re in the "grand majority of cases."  Every now and then you get unwarrented shootings, but for most situations, the police are acting within their rights.

  31. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    And now that you speak (well, more like explain) with sense, I can take you seriously again. 

    This is the internet.  I can’t always read when joke, hyperbole, or sarcasm is used.  But either way, I am a believer that your argument holds up logically so long as all of your points do.  You weren’t making a point, but rather a joke, and thus my mistake.

  32. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Been pulled over four times (twice in CA, once in MN and MT).  All 4 cases I was told as soon as the cop showed up to the window that it was for speeding (the one in Montana was a friend driving my truck, and the one in MN resulted in a warning).  Yes, they must tell you why you are being pulled over.  Then they run your information.  Then they return with either a warning or a ticket (or in the case of MT, a bill for $20 which you can pay right then and there.  MT was really awsome like that).

  33. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    However, Austin was trying to assert he should have known (regardless of it’s validity as a defence) because it is included in manuals he wouldn’t have had, and needed to be known before getting a U.S. licence he wouldn’t have had to get.

    And has been pointed out above "Do not get out of the car" is NOT a law, even the manuals present it as a "smart idea" rather than law.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  34. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Bullshit. If it were strictly a matter of the officer’s judgment, no officer would ever be convicted for shooting a citizen while on duty. While officers do get a lot of leeway when accused of improper behavior, that doesn’t mean you can look at the officer’s judgment independently of the facts at the scene. There is such a thing as excessive use of force, and exactly what that is depends very much on the facts at the scene.

    As for knocking in a citizen’s teeth, that’s a purely retaliatory act and in no way constitutes acceptable use of force. Officers have the right to use as much force as necessary to arrest you, but no more.

  35. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "Unlike you, none of my posts have been blatantly biased on this topic."

    You may think you’re not biased, but I’ve read enough of your posts to know that you are.

    "Also, as you’re obviously from a country where a police officer isn’t allowed to fire back at a suspect shooting at them, judging by your posts, where the fuck are you from?"

    Who said anything about shooting? We’re talking about an unarmed citizen getting pepper sprayed, beat up and deprived of much his clothing for not getting back in his car.

    Also, has it occured to you that my objections to police brutality may be due in part to the fact that it does occur where I live? Here’s an example from where I live of a man being murdered by a police officer who felt the citizen was not being respectful. The only bright side is the officer was ultimately convicted of murder — something you don’t often see in countries where the law is above the law.

  36. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Actually, boarder inspections as well as TSA authority did increase drastically, and in some cases unconstitutionally, under Bush.  It’s not liberalism to state the truth.  You can give the reasoning of "terrorism" and the typically rhetoric for why we must forego some rights to be more "safe," but that doesn’t change the fact that the authority was increased. 

    If you want some semblence of balancing bias here, simply state that Obama hasn’t done jack shit to reduce the increase or address the problems caused by it.  There you go.  Truth, and this time in your favor.  Countering with logical arguments rather than calling someone a liberal douchebag is how adults are supposed to argue.  Then again, once things become partisan I rarely find someone who’ll act like an adult.

  37. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Maybe it had to do with the fact that you’re supposed to obey the driving laws for where you’re driving, not where you got your license.  Again, in America, you don’t get out of your car unless you’re told to by the cop.  "I didn’t know it was the law" is not a valid defense anywhere.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  38. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Just as you say there’s no indication he actually did anything wrong, there’s actually no indication that he didn’t assault a police officer, either.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  39. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Also quoted for the same reasons.

    One thing you forgot to take into account is if he was given reason for his detainment.  Some of the Canadian members of the board weren’t even aware that the US boarder did this.  So this leaves to wonder if there were signs posted that being stopped was a possibility, or if the cops specifically told him why he was being held up.  That fact right there may swing things in favor of the author.

  40. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I was wondering how long it would take some liberal douchebag to somehow blame this on former President Bush.  I’m actually surprised it lasted this long.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  41. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    I think you’ll find it’s a better idea to consider each point on its merits than dismiss everything a person says simply because you disagree with one of his statements.

    As for my statement, I was, of course, exaggerating when I said it. It’s intended as a comment on the mindset so prevalent among conservative Americans, where respect for authority is often more important than the question of whether particular authorities deserve the respect they demand.

  42. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    It doesn’t matter if he had a Canadian license.  He’s on American soil, so American driving laws apply.  Therefore, he should have stayed in his car until told to get out. 

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  43. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    "but even then only as aggressive as necessary to subdue the subject"

    That means absolutely nothing.  What is necessary at the time is based on the sole authority of the police officer on the scene.  No one else was there, facing the same conditions, being in the same shoes as that officer at that time.  This means that for the grand majority of cases, the action taken by the police was warrented.

    As for that last part, "subdue" is a very trickey word.  Do you mean in handcuffs?  If that’s the case then the person is impaired, not subdued.  He can still kick and bite, and cause harm to the arresting officer.  Making the arrest more difficult, to the point of potentially causing harm to the arresting officer, is reason enough for counteractions by the police, be it taser or what have you.

    If getting arrested in the US, make sure there is a reason for your detainment, that the police declare that you’re being arrested and for what reason (this one’s important), that you don’t make matters difficult for them unless you potentially want to get your teeth knocked in or hit with a taser, and that you don’t say jack shit to the police and leave it up to the lawyers (another important part – the police are not your friends.  They work on the side of the prosecution.  What you say under their supervision will never do you any good, and will always try to be used in the court case against you). 

  44. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Unlike you, none of my posts have been blatantly biased on this topic.  My comments have all been about pointing out the fallacy of their arguments, namely, that a law enforcement officer is not supposed to act on perceived threats.  They are trained to do that here.  That’s why it’s illegal to point a squirt gun at a cop.  That’s also why, in America, YOU DON’T GET OUT OF YOUR FUCKING CAR UNTIL THE COP TELLS YOU TO.

    Also, as you’re obviously from a country where a police officer isn’t allowed to fire back at a suspect shooting at them, judging by your posts, where the fuck are you from?

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  45. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I’ve crossed the US-Canadian border many times in my life, and it is posted that you can be stopped.  As to your second point, you obviously haven’t been pulled over, ever.  The police officer will take your license and insurance.  He or she won’t tell you why you’ve been stopped until AFTER they’ve ran your information.  Yes, they do say it, but you’ll be sitting in your car for fifteen to twenty minutes before you find out why.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  46. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    "I know that Americans are trained to take it up the ass and like it whenever confronted by officers, but that doesn’t make it right."

    Wait….what?  You sounded logical till that point.  Now I can’t take anything you say seriously.

  47. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    However, you need to consider the accusations against him, namely that he assaulted a border patrol agent.  That DOES give them the authority to spray, beat and arrest him.  Now, we don’t know if these accusations are true, but you can’t just dismiss them, either.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  48. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Just to point out:  If he simply asked twice why he was being stopped, in his eyes he wouldn’t see that as "refusing to return" to his car.

    Plus, we don’t know of the situation.  Was the police officer in his squad car?  In a booth with a heater?  With the cold around that area, sitting for a while in a car with the engine turned off could get pretty cold, so it’s understandable that the guy got agitated and wanted to know why he was being held up.

    There are a few more things that should be taken into account:

    -Is it posted on the way to the border that you may be stopped for random inspection?

    -The cops obviously didn’t tell him why he was being stopped.  Different agencies have different rules on this, but usually they are required to tell you the reason for your detainment, whether it be temporarily being pulled over or full on incarceration.

    When a cop is in the right, I will usually be one of the first to stand in his defence, but if the cop was in the wrong then I’ll also speak out against their actions.  In this case, I would say that the cops were in the wrong, simply because they did not give reason for their actions.

  49. 0
    Valdearg says:

    "Even if some guy was up in their face and yelling at them, that shouldn’t be enough reason for police to get violent."

    I disagree, to a point. The police, while "Protecting and Serving" aren’t going to put themselves in a situation where they don’t feel like they are in control. You can’t exactly do a good job if you are dead. Border Patrol, Police, and many other Law Enforcement individuals are put in that same situation.

    Most Officers will attempt to maintain control of the situation, in any way possible, rather than lose control and let a potentially violent individual get the upper hand. If that means kicking someone’s ass, than so be it. And lets be serious, here, "Potentially Violent Individual" is EVERYBODY the Officer deals with. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, if you do something to make a police officer think you might have nefarious motives, like getting out of your vehicle to confront him, that officer will take any and all avenues to protect himself.

    I once had a Sheriff hold me at gunpoint and handcuff me after pulling me over, because I didn’t happen to see him in my rearview for about 5 miles. He thought I was running from him. It was like 6AM and I was TIRED, so my awareness wasn’t exactly spot on. I was frightened, for sure, since you don’t usually start your mornings staring down the barrel of a gun, but I didn’t hold it against him, and when he started questioning me, I was respectful, explained my situation, and that I didn’t have any reason to run. After a few minutes, running a few checks, he uncuffed me, gave me my car keys, and even APOLOGIZED for any scare he may have given me. (Even better, he just gave me a warning for speeding)

    Like I said before, you treat LEOs with respect, and you will almost ALWAYS get respect back. 999,999 times out of 1,000,000, you have to provoke or frighten LEOs to have them respond with violence, and I’m certain that Watts probably did one of the two.

  50. 0
    kagirinai says:

    We’re talking about relative levels of authority here though. You say "don’t give them a reason", but the stereotyped police motto is "To serve and protect". They shouldn’t be able to justify kicking someone ass because they were talking out of turn. Even if some guy was up in their face and yelling at them, that shouldn’t be enough reason for police to get violent. If he’d pulled a gun or made a swing, that’s a different story, but these border guards should be well enough trained to deal with someone who’s standing at his car without having to resort to pepper spray and fisticuffs.

  51. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    So which part of "The Toronto-based author" gave you the stupid assumption he has a U.S. driver manual or U.S. operators licence?

    Oh, man. Did that just ruin your retarded assertion? Well shit.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  52. 0
    kagirinai says:

    Unless you can point me to a law that says something to the effect of ‘disobeying common police ettiquette is an offense punishible immediately by physical retribution’, I fail to see your point.

    Additionally, I’m sure that when these officers apprehended Watts, it would have taken all of a ‘please come with us sir, we’d like to speak with you’ to get his friend to come with them, cuffless. There’s no need for such excessive force. The fact that you’re so accepting of this sort of behavior is terrifying.

    I mean; imagine if you were walking along, and a police officer stopped you, and asked you to take off your shirt, you’d comply? You wouldn’t ask why? And then you’d be this dismissive of someone who was pepper sprayed for not immediately complying?

  53. 0
    Valdearg says:

    Not what I was going for, there..

    My point was that if you don’t give them a reason to get pissed at you in the first place, you have a 99.999% chance of living your life without a negative conflict with police.

    If you DO want to confront them, do so in a respectful way. As much as I hate to admit it, in a situation dealing with someone of authority, you ALWAYS will have less power than the Authority does.

    Yes, there are times where Officers of the Law will act poorly. They are only human. However, instances like this are rare, and instances where the victim is completely innocent are even rarer. More commonly, you have belligerant, anti-authority individuals acting agressively, provoking the officers and putting them at risk, then accusing the Officers of "excessive force" when they finally get thier asses whupped because of thier idiotic behavior.

    Statistically speaking, Watts was probably in the wrong.

  54. 0
    Ambiguous says:

    To be fair, one of the main things officers learn is just how dangerous someone you know nothing about, nor of their intentions can be.  What if he was armed?  You do know just how easy it is to get yourself killed by being over confident right?  Seriously, just one smart ass comment to a drunk in a bar, or because you just have to show how hard you are by picking a fight with someone you don’t like for whatever reason.  Either could easily do it, all because you’ve forgotten how to be smart, and scared.  They need to assume the worst in a possibly unfavorable situation, or it could easily cost them their lives.  Hell, some people kill over parking spaces.  Fear is a primalm, instinctive response for a reason.

    Of course, theres also the fact that officers of any kind are also human beings, and don’t like being challenged.  Especially not since they do in fact have the privilege and authority to act as the situation and their training demands, whether you consider that fair or not.  Getting out of your car and then refusing to get back into the vehicle, besides representing a potential threat, is also displaying either a lack of trust in said officers and/or that he may have something to hide.  Either way, thats only going to agitate them.

    Also, you’re crossing the border and the border patrol searches you.  It’s not rocket science to figure out what they’re doing: checking for contraband, whether by a random method/ a hunch/ or a tip-off.  If there’s nothing to find, all he had to do was put up with an annoyance of being delayed.  Instead, he made it worse, simple by getting out of the car and not being cooperative.

    Thing is, most officers are courteous enough to respond if you are cooperative and genuinely inquire as to why they’re doing what they are doing.  Nothing to hide about a random search after all.


  55. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Note that the bullet point relating to staying in your car until the cop gives you further instructions is in bold.  As is the part that ‘suggests’ you follow the instructions of the officer.

    As for the friend, he probably got that treatment due to the actions of Watts himself. 

  56. 0
    kagirinai says:

    In conclusion, you should cower in fear from anyone with a badge. Otherwise they are within their rights to brutalize you and charge you with false crimes. Remember, they are here to keep your punk ass in line.

  57. 0
    kagirinai says:

    It’s funny — I checked 14-2, and the FIRST line under the header "WHEN STOPPED BY THE POLICE" it reads: "It is suggested that the driver should" — emphasis is mine. It’s not a requirement, even if it is a good idea.

    Additionally, you’re failing to see the larger picture of this. So what if he made a mistake? There’s no indication that he actually MADE any aggressive actions, threaten or otherwise interact violently with the border guards. And yet he was beaten, dragged away in cuffs, and had his property confiscated. A quick look at his blog also mentions that a friend of his who was with him was treated similarly, despite the fact that this friend STAYED IN THE CAR. He was still cuffed, interrogated, and had his belongs confiscated.

    It is exceedingly difficult to believe that Watts actually tried to choke one of the border guards, like they claim, unless perhaps said guard was choked by the backwash from the pepper spray. Right or wrong, Watts getting out of the car could be pretty easily dismissed over the felony they want to charge him with. We may disagree on how ‘agressive’ getting out of the car was, but the rest of the incident seems a lot more clearly wrong. The guards here seem pretty indefensible.

  58. 0
    Valdearg says:

    I’m going to make this very, very clear. Austin Lewis and I are almost complete polar opposites. We rarely, if EVER, agree on anything.

    That being said, I agree with Austin_Lewis. It’s pretty much common sense if you are dealing with ANY individuals of authority, you ALWAYS show respect, and you NEVER get confrontational. In regards to the car, Austin_Lewis is also 100% right. When getting pulled over or investigated, you shouldn’t do ANYTHING unless the LEO (LAW Enforcement Officer.. "Local Enforcement"?? WTF?) directs you to do it. Getting out of your car is a HUGE no-no, and it will set off red flags in the mind of any Officer. On top of that, ignoring orders to get back into the car, and continuing to confront the Officer will almost always result in you being handcuffed, and perhaps even worse.

    One thing that people here don’t seem to realize is that if you don’t give a LEO a reason to be angry with you, you will almost NEVER be harrassed or assaulted. If there’s one thing that happens in nearly ALL situations where LEOs are accused of "Abuse" or "Excessive Force," its that the supposed "victim" wasn’t exactly Mother Theresa. They almost ALWAYS gave the Officers a reason to respond the way they did, whether that be belligerence, aggression, or resistance.

    Don’t get me wrong, there ARE times where LEOs will abuse or assault a victim with little or no provocation, but the reality is that that situation is MUCH less likely than a situation in which the Officer had a reason to react the way he did.

    Frankly, I’m not exactly an Authoritarian personality, and I’m known to break a few laws here and there, but when it comes to dealing with Police or other Authoritarian figures, you absolutely have to do your best NOT to give them reasons to get angry at you.

    I’d be willing to bet that if Watts had sat in his car, spoken respectfully, and obeyed every instruction the Border Agents had given him quickly and quietly, he’d probably have been allowed to drive home and this story would have never happened.

  59. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    I don’t know.  Find me a Canadian manual; I’m not really sure where they would be.  Preferably, one in English.

    As for their authority to search the car, if he said that they could search the car, then he gave them the authority.  And, seeing as they got into his car without breaking any windows, I have a sneaking feeling that he did.

  60. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    I’ve always gone by the rule of ‘when I’m in another country, I try to obey the laws and not antagonize officers, and treat them like they were LEO’s from my own country.’  Obviously, this doesn’t apply in countries where the police are completely corrupt or where there is no government run police force (South America and a good bit of Africa, plus some rural Asian areas). 

    In Canada, do you commonly get out of the car when pulled over by the police?  Do you get out and go back there and talk to them?  Somehow, I doubt this very much.  I understand there’s a difference in culture here, but I doubt the difference is that big.

    But I could be wrong; I’ve never been pulled over for speeding in Canada.

  61. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Hey, how about you check this .  That’s the Texas DMV Driver’s License Handbook.  Go check section 14-2, and then come back here with some humble pie. 

    Actually, I sided with the border patrol because, in getting out of the vehicle, Watts was in the wrong.  Besides, I never get to serve on juries anyway; when you have advanced degrees and aren’t swayed easily by emotional pleas, they tend to not like you as a potential juror for much of anything. 

    side note:  Was this individual a known threat?  They only employ the car speaker when, say, pulling over a car that is owned or being driven by someone suspected of a violent wrongdoing.  Otherwise, they get out of the car and walk to your window. 

    You fail to understand that when he got out of the car, they didn’t know what his intent was, but they did know he was being noncompliant and endangering them, and that’s more than enough to justify a taste of pepper spray.

  62. 0
    Neeneko says:

    And normally (in the past) border patrol agents were trained with this kind of knowledge.  While foriegn citizens are expected to obey US laws, agents generally knew which ones would come as a surprise and thus handle ‘oh, I was not aware’ situations calmly and professionally. 

    But during the Bush erra they hired waves of new agents, trained them poorly, and upped the stress levels by changing the focus.  So the newer agents are more likely to not be aware of what people do and do not know and, frankly, they tend to care a lot less.  After all, they just got moved up from a powerless possition to significant authority, why should they be polite and professional?  

    I know plenty of people who have been traveling in and out of the country for decades, both as US citizens and forien… and many of them simply refuse to cross US borders now because stuff like this is getting increasingly common.  Guys like this are famous enough to get some press, but the events are far from unique.  Even Isreal, which has some of the strictest customs and checkpoint systems in the world, tends to be more pleasent and professional then the US is right now.  They also train the hell out of their agents.

  63. 0
    axiomatic says:

    So now you think were all 15 and fresh out of drivers ed?

    Whatever… I just checked my daughters drivers ed book from Texas. Its not in there. It does however say to stay in your car to avoid being hit by another car. But nothing about scaring the police with your "aggressive exiting" of cars. (LOL I can’t even type that without laughing.)

    The fact alone that you side with the border patrol without knowing the truth says all I need to say. Guilty until proven innocent is it? I hope you feel the pain of that someday Austin. I certainly hope you try to get out of jury duty as much as possible as you are unfit to judge others.

    side note: As I was typing this my colleague just walked up and we called her husband who is a cop. He claims that in Texas the proper procedure is if the police are speaking to you from their car speaker and they actually fear you are violent that it is the cops who will not approach your car until you comply with the instructions to get out of your car and walk to the back of the car and put your hands behind your back so you may be cuffed. But he says (in texas) there are no rules for exiting your vehicle aggressively. (LOL) He said if there was, there would be a ticket (or misdemeanor class) for it, there isn’t. He did mention that there are safety protocol rules for gang related areas of town, but again, were not talking about a violent person here. Were talking about a book author.

  64. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    I think you might be missing the point that he is Canadian. Not an American Citizen. There are subtle but important differences. He never took a state sponsored driver’s program. He is not a US Citizen. Some of the standards and laws between the two countries are blurred a bit.

    Yes I happen to agree, that sitting in your car is probably the best thing. However up in Canada, we are not required to do so. Most of us do the common sense (should be renamed as good sense, because it is not that common) response of sitting down and shutting up. However here, we are able to exit and walk around. However if we get aggressive that is a different story :)

    However placing an expectation that he should follow State laws and advice given from US Driver’s schools might be a little much considering he is from a different country with different rules.

  65. 0
    Neeneko says:

    So what do canadian manuals say?

    While he was on american soil, he was a canadian citizen, with a canadian lisecne, canadian tags, and going into a boarder region staffed by people who are trained to interact with people who don’t know all customs involving police and the US.

    It should also be noted that since they were not at customs, the border patrol has no authority to search his car without a warent (since random searches do not usually meet the standard of probable cause).  All he is legally required to do is display his lisence and registration.

  66. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Since this was a random check, probable cause could be brought into question if they guy wanted to really push the issue.  Random searches in public space (since he was not going through US customs, it could be argued that he was still in public space) have had mixed results in the courts.

  67. 0
    Neeneko says:

    If the officer was so scared for his safty that he and his buddies needed to apply significant force to someone exiting their car, they either need to be retrained or removed from the force.  People that jittery have no buiensess being in that kind of potition of authority.

  68. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Getting out of your car is not suffient grounds for the boarder patrol to spray, beat, and arrest someone.  Being a police officer does not give one unlimited authority to stamp out behavior they do not like.  There are rules about how and when an officer can escalate force and if they broke those rules then the officers were acting criminally.

    Enforcing the law does not make one exempt from it.

  69. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Getting out of his car may have been a mistake (though I can certainly understand his desire to see what the officers were doing if they were searching through his personal possessions), but that alone doesn’t justify the treatment he says he got. If he did indeed try to choke one of the officers then an aggressive response was indeed appropriate, but even then only as aggressive as necessary to subdue the subject. This last point is important, as I know for a fact that police officers will sometimes beat up a belligerent citizen after having subdued him in retaliation for making the arrest more difficult.

  70. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Right now, I’m running off the assumption that he did, indeed, get out of the car (as that seems to be one of the few points on which both parties agree) and that the officers did react to his being outside the car as every LEO would react; with fear for their safety.

    Based solely on the fact that Watts got out of the car, he was in the wrong.  That’s all there is to it.

  71. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    You didn’t wait to see the security footage before commenting either, so why demand that I do so?

    In any case, whether or not getting out of his car was perceived as an aggressive move — and please note the difference between perception and fact — I find it difficult to justify the officers’ actions if the man’s demeanor was not aggressive.

    I’m familiar with your posts, jedidethfreak, and it’s perfectly clear to me that you share much of Austin’s blind trust in authority. I know that Americans are trained to take it up the ass and like it whenever confronted by officers, but that doesn’t make it right.

  72. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Damn you, I was going to edit that and add a bit more.

    I was going to say that if you take a school-sponsored driver’s program, they tell you the same thing, and that nearly every driving school I’ve ever heard of tells its students the exact same information.

  73. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    If he’s American, I’ll guess he’s 13 and thinks that his parents never told him he couldn’t do anything.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  74. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    That may be so, but a bag checker is not a police officer or border guard.  They have the authority to search any vehicle they so choose as long as there is probable cause.  In border crossings, that covers pretty much any vehicle whatsoever.  Including a sci-fi author’s car.  If you’re pulled over, you do NOT have the right to just drive away.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  75. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Actually, it’s written down that you are not to get out of your car unless instructed to do so when pulled over by a police officer in many state’s drivers manuals; you know, that thing that nearly everyone has to have in order to pass the written test to get an operator’s license for a car?  So, it doesn’t seem to be axiomatic, does it jackass?  Go to your state’s BMV website, find the driver’s manual, and look for anything that sounds like ‘Routine Traffic Stops by Law Enforcement’.  Most of these sections make mention that while it is stressful to be stopped, for Law Enforcement it is dangerous, and they consider it very serious.  It often goes on to state, as I mentioned, that you should not get out of the car unless instructed to. 

    Oh, man.  Did that just ruin your retarded argument?  Well shit.

    You are way off base on the suggestion that I’m either a cop or a fan of cops.  Indeed, both are wrong.  But I really enjoy that you believe that my use of the phrase ‘LEO’ marks me as a fan.  Good work there, detective dipshit.

    What’s your excuse for not knowing the written rules?  Stupidity?  Illiteracy?  Or maybe you just don’t have a driver’s license?  Either way, you’re completely wrong.

  76. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Except for the fact that the only thing that the police and the author agree on is that he got out of his car without being told to do so.  This is seen as aggressive behavior by all LEO’s.  To say that it isn’t his fault, when he admits to performing an aggressive act, and there is no evidence yet to point fingers on anyone, you come off as a jackass.  How about we wait until we see the security footage, hmm?

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  77. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "I know, you probably don’t care, but its their right to inspect your bag, and if you don’t like it, you can shop elsewhere."

    It’s their right to ask to inspect your bag, but it’s not necessarily their right to actually do so if you refuse. Specifically:

    A customer can refuse to have their bag checked and simply walk out the door past the bag checker. Hopefully the bag checker has been trained to know that they cannot force anyone to submit to a bag search without cause. This is important because the expectation of the bag checker is that all bag contents have been purchased. The worst thing that could happen is that an aggressive bag checker would forcibly detain or threaten a customer who refused to comply with the voluntary search.

  78. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    You have to understand that Austin Lewis has an authoritarian mindset. Like most authoritarian conservatives, he’ll usually take the officers’ words over those of an abused citizen unless the evidence against the officers is so clear that claiming no abuse occurred would make him look like an idiot. Thus, when a Mexican immigrant gets beat up at the border or a Canadian sci-fi author is punched and partially stripped while crossing back into his country, it’s usually the civilian’s fault — even when it isn’t.

  79. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Where again is it posted (sign, website, whatever) that you are not supposed to get out of your car? Oh right… its not. It’s one of those things cops want you to do and you are only supposed to learn this "word of mouth" becuase I sure can’t find any marketing material stating what you claim is axiomatic.

    Austin here is clearly a fan of cops, or a cop himself, and its obvious by his use of jargon such as (LEO = Local Enforcement Officer) and other uses of cop jargon shows him to be a "fan."

    Heres a clue. Some of us don’t know these unspoken rules and will challenge unchecked authority when confronted with it. You don’t know what happened, no one will until the video is released, so please, stop coming to the defense of the police when you don’t know if they actually violated Mr. Watts rights.

  80. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    It sounds like the Customs officers did just that, and Watts, playing the part of a jackass, decided to not comply.  
    He should never have gotten out of his car.  Doing so is absolutely an aggressive action; it’s often the precursor of an assault on the officer (which is what they claimed happened).  An individual stopped by officers has only one motive for getting out of the car; confronting the officer(s).  That is an aggressive act, whether you think so or not.

  81. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I don’t know where you’re from, but in the United States, if a LEO pulls you over, you don’t do anything until they tell you.  That includes getting out of your car.  Now, if he really didn’t do anything other than openly question the officers and they beat him up for it, they’re in the wrong, but he’s still an idiot for getting out of his car before being told to do so.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  82. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    If your questions and statements weren’t so moronic, it wouldn’t be so easy to insult you.

    Getting out of your car is absolutely aggressive.  On top of that, most police officers know that there’s no good reason for someone to get out of their car during a stop, and that such a move is common among individuals intent on, say, stabbing or shooting police and/or fleeing the scene.  An individual outside of their car is absolutely a threat to the life of a police officer.  When their life is threatened by an individual who is acting belligerently, they absolutely have the right to pepper spray the individual to get some level of compliance; that’s why officers have pepper spray. 

    Somehow, I don’t believe that he wasn’t told what they’d be doing.  How did they get into his car?  Did they smash the windows and open the door?  Or did they tell him they were going to check his car, and he unlocked the door?  

    Do you realize that people who steal from WalMart have, in the past, made small purchases, and then slipped the more expensive and stolen articles into the bag, thus prompting WalMart to check the bags of shoppers?  I know, you probably don’t care, but its their right to inspect your bag, and if you don’t like it, you can shop elsewhere.  WalMart has a high incidence of shoplifting, and they’re trying to put a stop to it. 

    Your scenarios bear no similarity to this situation at all, and you’re an idiot for clinging to that claim.



  83. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Getting out of your car before being asked to by LEOs is ALWAYS aggressive behavior.  He’s lucky he wasn’t in an area where there’s a lot of crime, because that’s a good way to get shot in some areas of the US.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  84. 0
    kagirinai says:

    My issue here is the use of the phrase "agressive actions". Define ‘Aggressive’. Getting out of his car might have been a poor choice, but that’s really only in light of the fact that customs officials tend to have the least oversight and accountability of any legal agents. They’re given extrodinary judicial powers compared to other law enforcement.

    There’s a lot of peculiar inconsistancies in this overall story. And maybe this guy did something really stupid and is calling a bluff on security footage verifying HIS story, but I think that’s a long shot. The reality seems to be that where border guards should have responded: "This is a random inspection sir, please get back in your car so we can complete it quickly", they instead beat the crap out of him and took his stuff.

    If they didn’t have badges, they’d be highwaymen.

  85. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Getting out of his car and refusing to return is an aggressive act in the eyes of any LEO.  He was acting in an aggressive manner on that basis alone, without knowing if any of the things its claimed he did were true.

  86. 0
    TOGamer says:

    Lovely.  Let the ad hominem begin.  Watts said this:

    "I can state categorically that I did not choke anybody, I did not use profanity and did not raise my voice, I did not initiate any physical contact,"

    Getting out of the car is not bright, but it’s not aggressive either.  I would have been unaware that these searches happen and would have reacted similarly.  They’re supposed to tell you what’s going on.  Watts has stated that no information was given, he was just pulled over and they started rifling.

    Stupid as it may be, it doesn’t merit being hit and pepper sprayed, if that’s what indeed happened. The tape will tell.

    "It is absolutely okay for Walmart to inspect your receipt, especially if you just set off the detectors."

    Who said anything about detectors?  Have you not had the experience of them requiring the checking of your bag even though they just watched you walk from the cashier?  I have.  I don’t like being treated like a criminal by someone who JUST WATCHED me pay for my stuff.  This is a legitimate use of power?

    "However, NEITHER OF THESE SITUATIONS IS SIMILAR, and you’re an idiot for attempting such a comparison."

    They are similar because it’s about what rights are.  Why are you so willing to give them up?


    "Customs periodically stops Canada-bound vehicles and inspects them before they cross into Ontario, Smith said."

    Smith is offering a very different view of what happened. Again, we’ll see when the tapes come out.

    I expect this would be news to most Canucks.  I’ve never been inspected or even been aware that this happened.  If I’m leaving your country, is it not the job of the border agents on the country you’re going to to inspect you? I’m saying Watts "alleged" reaction isn’t that far out, is it?

  87. 0
    SeanB says:

    Austin, grow up. Calling someone a dumbass isn’t exactly necesary, is it?

    //Watts was acting in an aggressive manner, and he very likely brought this on himself//


    Watts was ALLEGEDLY acting in an aggressive manner. Unless you were there, or saw the tape already, your speaking out of your ass.

  88. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    You shouldn’t make aggressive movements towards authority, should you dumbass?  When a cop pulls you over and asks for your license and insurance, you don’t get out of the car after handing it to him and refuse to get back in the car, do you?  What do you think the police officer thinks when you do that?  Here’s a hint: they wonder why you’re getting out of the car, and they consider it an aggressive act, and many will begin to suspect you’re preparing to do them harm or flee the scene.  You NEVER get out of your car when being questioned by LEO’s. 

    It is absolutely okay for Walmart to inspect your receipt, especially if you just set off the detectors.  On the other hands, you don’t have to allow police to search your home without a warrant, although if you want to allow them to, you can.  However, NEITHER OF THESE SITUATIONS IS SIMILAR, and you’re an idiot for attempting such a comparison.

    The point is, Watts was acting in an aggressive manner, and he very likely brought this on himself.


    ‘Chief Ron Smith, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, said today that Watts was crossing into Canada when he was selected at random for an inspection after paying the bridge toll.


    Customs periodically stops Canada-bound vehicles and inspects them before they cross into Ontario, Smith said. ‘

    So, Customs occasionally randomly stops Canada bound vehicles for a random inspection?  Wow.  It looks like everything you said was wrong.

  89. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    We’re better about this unless it’s about religion or sometimes politics. Then things generally devolve into uninformed crap and/or name calling.

    But yeah, there’s really not point in arguing about it until the footage is out.

  90. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    I agree :\

    I am not going to attack peeps for their opinion. Usually we are better than this. Usually.

    However yesssss, let us wait for the footage to tell us who is a liar and who is not 😀

  91. 0
    Magic says:

    I’m shocked at some and, as I consider myself a member of this community, disgusted by some of the ad hominem attacks throughout this page. Calling someone a moron or whining that their argument is retarded and so on is infantile and not what I expect from people on this site.

    Question someone’s logic or call them out on their claims, but don’t make petty insults – to do so is just making yourself look bad, no matter your point.

    As for why the topic is exploding, it arguably seems to be a classic split between people who highly respect police authorities (Or customs in this instance) and those who openly question it. Or maybe there is tension between certain people or groups on here, that would explain the name-calling.

    Let’s just wait for the video footage to turn up and see what really happened – that is, provided it hasn’t gone missing… :)

  92. 0

    Basically, yeah… It’s common fucking sense that you STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE when being stopped unless asked to step out of it. I guess it’s not surprising so many idiots don’t get that.

  93. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Yeah, what’s up with the discussion in this topic? It’s not religion, and it’s not politics; there’s absolutely no reason for it to be exploding/devolving like this.

  94. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    Well I guess since we have entered a cluster-f*** up above….

    I’ll repeat my point I placed up in that mess.

    Yes, he should have known better. As a Canadian myself, I think it should be common sense to sit my butt down and shut up when any law enforcement walk up to my car. Yet there is nothing stated in driving manuals stating that it is a requirement (they do suggest to do what the officer says). As I recall during my many cross border trips, this is identical. Just a suggestion, not a regulation. When ever someone has been pulled over, I expect them to immediately ask "What seems to be the problem officer?" I have, on occasion, when pulled over get up and walk around (mostly because my legs are stiff). Here in Canada, they don’t bat an eye unless you are threatening and swearing at them…

    I have been through Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, California, etc etc….I have been pulled over twice (once in Texas, once in Illinois. Hell I even got out of the car, because my legs were stiff. Also I talked to the officer and requested to know why I was pulled over (Canadian license plates, thought they were fake :P) …no one questionned it, no one cared. Why does this man get the shaft? Just because he got out and questionned why the hell they were doing, he gets roughed up?

    In the end, we can always argue that law enforcement can do so if they feel they are endangered. We can take this authors word for this apparent ‘assault’. In the end, we will have to wait until the security cam footage verifies either party and their story.

    In the meantime, I will declare this a shitty situation and I feel sorry for all that got involved.

  95. 0
    thefremen says:

    I didn’t think much of Homeworld 2, but that doesn’t mean the guy deserves all this.

    If there is a car crossing the border with Stephanie Meyers and Alan Dean Foster, that’s another matter entirely. 

  96. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    However, there is the possibility that whatever video evidence there is didn’t show anything to confirm either side’s story.

    Playing devil’s advocate here, there’s the possibility that he did assault a police officer and the video didn’t show that – just him getting his butt kicked.  Much like the Rodney King video showed him getting his ass kicked, but didn’t show the 100 mph police chase that eventually went through a residential area, all to try to avoid a DUI.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  97. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Yet there is no evidence that he did assualt the police officer, at least not at this time.  The fact that he seems to be openly calling for the video records of the incident to prove his case tips my favor to his side.

  98. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Noncompliance isn’t what he was arrested for.  Assaulting a federal agent is.  I’m pretty sure they can arrest someone for that.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  99. 0
    Neeneko says:

    If these were federal agents (as opposed to state cops), which I beleive the border patrol is, then no, non-compliance is not grounds for arrest, at least not legally.  They can deny someone entry to the country for refusing a search, but they can not force a search on US soil without probable cause.

    One of the problems with border patrol agents is they tend to be less trained then other federal police officers and are often not even aware themselves what they can and can not do.  And most people who end up on the wrong side of an illegal search simply do not bother fighting it because fighting crooked cops, esp federal agents, is misserable.

  100. 0
    TOGamer says:

    According to what I’ve read he was stopped for inspection after the tollbooths for leaving the USA but before getting to the Canadian side.

    I’ve only driven to the States (through Detroit or Buffalo) about a half dozen times in recent years and I was unaware that these "before you leave" inspections even happened.  Rather stunned.

    While I think it’s generally not a good idea to question officials ’cause your cruising for problems, in this situation I can see myself doing the same because I wasn’t aware that this could happen.

    Count me in for seeing the tapes as well.  This seems screwy.

  101. 0
    SeanB says:

    //and he was released across the border in shirtsleeves//

    In a lot of places in canada, it’s -40 with the windchill right now.

    I too would love to see that video.

    Also, i have to point something out. The article says that he was crossing back into canada, but that he had a problem with US Customs Officials. I’ve crossed that border many times, when entering Canada, you talk to canadian officials. When entering the US, you talk to US officials.

    Either this article is wrong, or the US officials stopped him before he crossed back into Canada, which adds more questions.

  102. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    I think the assumption that everyone automatically knows border-search protocol has been taken a little too far here. I’ll wait to see the Videos like everyone else, but whilst refusing to get back in the car was silly, it wasn’t in a ‘danger’ situation, such as a high-crime or high-risk area, and the person was leaving, not arriving, so it all depends on what really happened, if he was arrested purely for what appears to be a case of not understanding what was going on and trying to get clarification, then the officers got carried away, if he actually tried to grab or ‘choke’ one of the officers (something I doubt someone of his physique and mentality would be likely to do in honesty) then he will get what is coming to him.

  103. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Yeah, because that blog is CLEARLY level-headed and unbiased, and the writer was OBVIOUSLY witness to the goings-on.  What the person writing this blog forgets to mention, after posting you have the right to deny any search of your person or vehicle, is that you will then be arrested for non-compliance.  This is very similar to the fact that, if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, you’re still going to jail for intoxication.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  104. 0
    Nagaina says:

    Another article on the matter here from a blog specifically concerning border control issues:

    It should also be noted, at this point, that a) no one is legally required to passively submit to a search in this country, on the border or off it, and, in fact, you can REFUSE to submit to a search by any police authority and b) the border officers could have avoided this entire thing by, y’know, explaining the situation when Dr. Watts asked why he was being pulled over — but I suppose they prioritized authoritarian dick-waving over not causing yet another fucking embarrassing international brouhaha over American police brutality. From the post linked above, this is also interesting:

    What’s interesting to note here, assuming the reports I’ve read are accurate, is that the federal agents turned him over to local law enforcement. This is suspicious because federal agents are not considered state police officers in most circumstances and state laws governing the alleged assault of a police officer don’t normally cover federal agents. This is especially true given the fact that there are federal laws making it a crime to assault a federal agent.

    Why then was Mr. Watts not arrested and charged federally if he did indeed physically assault a federal agent? Does anyone really think the federal government wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to prosecute someone who had clearly assaulted one of its own in the performance of his or her duties?

    My guess is that the federal agents involved in the beat-down know that whatever Mr. Watts did, it didn’t rise to the level of assault. They probably also know that if they tried to charge him with assault themselves, the federal prosecutor would either refuse to take the case or a federal judge would laugh it out of federal district court. A federal prosecution would also place a much brighter light on their own actions during the incident, a light that could have a detrimental effect on their own careers if it wasn’t directed at just the right angle.

  105. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    I find it hard to believe anyone would actually stupid enough to try and CHOKE a border official. Get surly with, sure, but choke? That breaks my suspension of disbelief.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  106. 0
    TOGamer says:

    So you should never question authority?  Inspections usually happen when you ENTER a country, not when you leave it.  You just can’t give cart blanche to anyone in a uniform.

    Is it okay when Walmart wants to inspect your receipt when you just walked 10 steps from the cashier?  If cops show up at your door without a warrant but want to search your home, do you say okay?

    There are limits.  We’ll see what really happened though thanks to the cameras.  Watts may be eating crow but I have my doubts at this point.

  107. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Why the hell would you get out of your car?  What kind of retard does that?  What do you think cops would do if, when they pull you over for speeding, you got out of the car?

    If he got out of his car and refused to return to it, then I say he brought a lot of this on himself.

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