A US citizen is suing Customs and Border Protection because when he returned to the U.S. from his native Nigeria, where he traveled for his late father’s memorial service, he was put through extreme measures.
Here’s why the federal government says they suspected him of smuggling drugs (which has since been proven false):
- He wasn’t traveling with enough clothing
- He was honest and declared he was bringing fruit into the country, the government says this is a clever tactic “to refocus inspectional efforts” to fruit and away from drugs.
- He was observed “rubbing his hands together”
- He was carrying malaria medication (as one might do when traveling to Nigeria)
Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo
Not included in their statement, of course, is that the man is black.
He was detained for 12 hours and “bound and driven to Reston Hospital Center in Virginia, where he says he was examined against his will.” They watched him “urinate multiple times.” He was forced to consent to the treatment, he says, after being told it was the only way he would ever be released. Adding to the indignity he was even sent a $2127 bill by the hospital for this which his attorney has since gotten the federal government to pay. Customs and Border Protection officers claim immunity from suit.
The federal government has paid out settlements in similar cases. For instance, in 2015 a woman confused with someone else with a similar name had CBP probe her “vagina twice, once with the same gloved hand used to probe the genitals of three other women” (emphasis mine) even though it is illegal for a CBP officer to “touch detainees’ private parts or force them to submit to X-rays or medical exams unless officers obtain consent, a warrant or a physician’s declaration.”
(HT: Reid F.)