by Marin Hill, Libertyfight.com
Proving once again the necessity of his federal lawsuit and his new website, the owner of DontWakeMeUp.Org was ironically woken up on the very day that he publicly launched his new site and PR campaign. At the internal suspiconless border checkpoint on I-35N in Laredo, Texas, border officers once again woke up an off-duty sleeping truck driver and tried to demand that he step out of the vehicle. Once again, the motorist recorded the interaction.
A few lessons here: Always have your camera ready to record all interactions with law enforcement. You do not have to comply with illegal orders. You do not have to get out of a vehicle when there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause. If you're not driving, you don't have to show ID. As illustrated by Terry Bressi at the great website CheckpointUSA.Org, you are not obligated to answer any questions at internal suspiconless warantless checkpoints.
The incident began when the co-driver pulled into the checkpoint.
Officer 1: "How you doin?"
Officer 1: "Is there anyone else with you?"
Driver: "Yeah, my co-driver."
Officer 1: "Can he step out?
Officer 1: "Can he step out real quick?"
Driver: "He's sleeping."
Officer 1: "Can you wake him up for me?"
Driver: "Um, I should not wake him up, we are going to California and he needs to rest eight hours."
Officer 1: "If you want I'm just trying to make it easier for you. If not I'll just send you over there. Whenever he wakes up, do you want to do that?"
Driver: "What are you talking about?"
At that point the off-duty resting driver gets out of bed with the camera.
The off-duty driver then gets up with camera in hand, saying "Is there a problem sir? What's your name? Let me talk to a supervisor."
The officer looks very disappointed to see the camera and immediately gets down from the truck and walks away, turning his back on the camera.
"Get your supervisor," the off-duty passenger repeats.
The officer gets on his radio to call backup.
The crazy thing is that border agents have no authority to interfere in interstate conmerce and delay a load travelling between states. Nor do they have a right to demand someone step out of the vehicle, show their ID, or interrupt their 10 hour sleeping period with no probable cause.
A second officer with a drug sniffing dog comes snooping around the truck but the first officer says "he has a camera" and the drug dog cop backs off immediately also. Apparently these power-starved jackboot lunatics have an aversion to cameras for some strange reason.
A few moments later a supervisor named Richard Zelmer hops on the running board and asks "How ya doin?"
The off-duty passenger asks Zelmer the first officer's name, but Zelmer refuses to give it numerous times. The off-duty passenger then reiterates that they aren't allowed to wake him up. Despite the fact this interuption was done under the guise of determining "citizenship," no officer at any point ever asked either driver about ctizenship status, and neither driver said anything about citizenship. Zelmer, however, concluded "you're free to go" when the off-duty passenger kept saying not to wake him up.
When the passenger tells him "do not wake me up again, you understand me?" at minute 3:11, Zelmer tries to open the driver's door but it is locked, so he turns away and continues trying to shield his face from the camera.
"You're free to go whenever youre ready," Zelmer continues, then waves his hand directing his officers away, telling them "everybody just step back and get out of the camera."
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