The proverbial "thin blue line" is the contingent of law officers duly sworn to protect We the People. There are review boards and other means to make sure officers of the law do not abuse their positions.
Nonetheless, there have arisen groups that have not been elected by voters, nor appointed by those we have given the authority to oversee our law keepers. Also, there seems to be a pattern of wrongful prosecution of certain border patrol agents. These agents have one thing in common: they were either trying to apprehend illegal aliens or have, in fact, apprehended them.
Perhaps one of the earliest cases of misdirected prosecution was that of Stephanie Mohr, working with her canine partner for the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. On September 21, 1995, Stephanie Mohr, recipient of 25 letters of commendation and two awards, answered a back-up call of the Takoma Park Police Department, who were on a stake-out after several rooftop burglaries had taken place. Stephanie and her partner, along with the dog, Valk, joined two Takoma Park policemen who had spotted two suspects atop a commercial building. A helicopter was called to assist, along with K-9.
The two suspects came down on the back side of the building and were ordered to freeze and put up their hands. Looking jittery and only raising his hands about waist level, one suspect started speaking in Spanish to his companion. The companion made a move as if he were going to run. Stephanie then released Valk, who followed his training and, when the man did not obey orders to stop, bit the man on the leg and held him. Sergeant Dennis Bonn, Takoma Park supervisor, was on the scene of this apprehension by Stephanie’s dog.
Both suspects ended up in jail and were subsequently deported. That should have been the end of this story. However, five years later, and one day before the statute of limitations expired, Stephanie Mohr was charged with a crime. The two illegals, even the one who was bitten, never filed a complaint. The case against Stephanie took two trials to convict her. Eleven jurors in the first trial voted for acquittal, with only one holdout. Most often, prosecutors will not go to the expense of a second trial after seeing a jury vote heavily for acquittal. Also, there is the spirit of double jeopardy to consider.
Bringing in new witnesses, the race card was played. The new slant was that Stephanie Mohr was prejudiced toward minorities. The usual pressure groups, from Amnesty International to the N.A.A.C.P. were involved. Also, the deported illegal alien was sprung from his jail cell in El Salvador, and his companion from a prison in Texas to testify against her. The full power of the government was available to the prosecution under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Justice.
An ordinary citizen, even with a very good attorney, is usually not equipped to go up against that array of prosecutors with the attendant power to spend whatever it takes to move witnesses around and offer immunity to any who also might have been involved, however slightly, to give testimony against their fellow officers. It’s easy to see that other officers would not want that government behemoth turned at them if they did not cooperate.
In August of 2002, Stephanie Mohr was handcuffed and led to jail. The judge had sentenced her to ten years. Ten years in jail for a dog bite. Her young son, Adam, will spend his formative years without his mom.
Our law officers are coming under fire by all the usual criminals, but something more sinister has been added to the streets they patrol.
In November of 2004, an article by Matthew Cella in the Washington Times reported that:
“Police officials in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties are warning officers that a Salvadoran street gang is plotting to ambush and kill them when they respond to service calls.”
Cella added that: “In July 2002, The Washington Times reported that MS-13 had dispatched about 20 gang members from California to Fairfax County to kill a county police officer at random”.
Nonetheless, Stephanie Mohr, whose record was clean, was prosecuted and taken off those dangerous streets where citizens needed her the most. For a dog bite.
Ray Bunn and his partner ran into a nearly fatal meeting with a suspect in Atlanta, Georgia on July 14, 2002. About 3:00 A.M , while patrolling the Buckhead bar district, the two officers heard the sound of breaking glass, heard a car alarm go off, and saw a man jump out of the shattered passenger window of a nearby car. Although they shouted “Police! Stop! Police! Stop!”, the man ignored their shouts and jumped into the back seat of a Chevy Tahoe SUV. Drawing their weapons, the officers slowly advanced toward the SUV. Suddenly, the driver of the SUV stepped on the gas and started driving directly at Officer Bunn.
As Officer Bunn saw the SUV, weighing more than three tons and traveling at a speed of 25 MPH, he knew he was facing a deadly weapon. With the vehicle bearing down on him, Bunn knew he had to defend himself as well as he could. He fired two shots and tried to jump out of the way. The SUV struck his knee.
Corey Ward, driver of the SUV, died at the scene from a gunshot wound to his head. Officer Bunn knew he had acted in self defense, but he was devastated, although Atlanta police are trained to use force if they feel their lives are in danger.
Anti-police activists claimed that Bunn was a racist, rogue cop. Corey Ward was an African-American young man. Bowing to pressure, three and half years after the incident, the Fulton County District Attorney announced he was indicting Bunn for the murder of Corey Ward. Local news media, as is their wont, are printing stories sympathetic to the members of Corey Ward’s family, thereby influencing any jury that might be impaneled. However, they fail to report that police found marijuana, cocaine, a large knife and two stolen cell phones in Corey Ward’s SUV.
Once again, how does a working man trying to provide for a family of five children, including a toddler, go up against the government with its array of top guns provided by taxpayer money? How does a wife face the prospect of seeing her husband, who she knows to be a good man, go to prison for just doing his job? Some of the police groups are standing behind him, but their funds are limited, certainly in comparison to the prosecution’s.
A guilty verdict will take a man who served his community for seven years and his country for a year in Iraq, off the mean streets of Atlanta, where he had always been a valued protector of its citizens.
The cases of Border Agents Compean and Ramos have made national headlines as some members of congress became aware of the dubious charges made against the two because they tried to apprehend a fleeing illegal alien and drug smuggler on the southern border. The more that comes out about this case, the more some congressmen are convinced it was a travesty of justice. In hearings, a representative of Homeland Security admitted lies were told about these agents’ reportedly saying that they were “out to shoot some Mexicans”. Lies. But, lies told to prejudice this case against two agents who had apprehended thousands of illegal aliens.
Both had exemplary records. The prosecution claimed they had shot a fleeing suspect in the buttocks and tried to cover it up. The only real witnesses to this event were the two agents and the drug smuggler, who was treated at taxpayer expense, transported to the U.S. at taxpayer expense, and given immunity for his testimony. The prosecutors chose to believe an illegal alien drug smuggler rather than two border patrol agents, who said that this drug smuggler turned halfway around and pointed what looked like a gun at them. His vehicle held almost 800 pounds of marijuana, worth about a million dollars. He was apprehended a second time with a like amount of marijuana and given immunity again. This second apprehension was not allowed to be brought into the trial, thereby depriving the jury of a key piece of evidence.
Now Ignacio Ramos is confined to a room the size of a bathroom, cut off from his family, with no telephone. He is allowed outside that room one hour a day. This does provide him with some semblance of protection against the inmates, some of whom perhaps he or a fellow agent has sent to that very prison. Ramos has already been severely beaten in prison by other inmates.
Meanwhile, it is a good thing that the smuggler, Aldrete-Avila, has that “get out of jail free” card, as he may have to pursue his smuggling career until he sues the U.S. government for five million dollars, as he has threatened.
Once again, the two agents and their attorneys were arrayed against the full force of the U.S. government, under the aegis of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, and supervised by U.S. Attorney for the Western Division of Texas, Johnny Sutton.
For persistent and exemplary reporting on the pattern of border patrol agents being prosecuted by our government, one has to watch Lou Dobbs tonight. Casey Wian, CNN Correspondent, reported on the case of Former Edwards County Texas sheriff’s deputy Gilmer Hernandez. Hernandez was on duty in April 2005 when he attempted to pull over a Suburban loaded with suspected illegal aliens. Wian reports that, according to Chief Deputy Jay Adams, Edwards County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department:
“Gilmer approached the car that run the stop sign. They stopped approximately half a mile after he turned his emergency lights on. He walked up to the driver’s window and asked for the license. And the driver immediately put the car in gear and swerved toward him, taking off. Gilmer pulled his pistol and fired at the left rear tire, blowing it out. And they kept on going, and he attempted to shoot out the right rear tire”.
Wian reports further that one of the shots slightly injured a passenger. The other occupants in the vehicle fled. The Texas Rangers investigated the shooting and cleared the deputy of wrongdoing. However, Wian reports that:
“Hernandez was prosecuted by Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s office after the Mexican government intervened in the case. It was Sutton who also pursued criminal charges against Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean for shooting and wounding an illegal alien Mexican drug smuggler”.
Two illegal invaders from that case are also threatening lawsuits demanding millions of dollars. These demands are made easier because they have won in court and “proven” that the U.S. government has wronged them.
Jerome Corsi, of World Net Daily, has written extensively on these similar convictions, and reports on yet another case, that of David Sipe:
“Sipe was convicted in 2001 for a situation near McAllen, Texas, when he was accused of using a metal flashlight to strike illegal alien coyote Jose Guevara on the back of his head after Guevara struggled and resisted arrest.
The charge was using ‘excessive force and causing bodily injury’ in the confrontation during the early morning hours of April 5, 2000.
The case would ruin Sipe’s career and marriage before it was over just a few weeks ago. A federal appeals court reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial because of prosecutorial misconduct, including withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense in violation of the Brady rule. During a re-trial in January, Sipe was acquitted after deliberations of less than an hour.”
In this same article Jerome Corsi mentions another case similar to Sipe’s:
“Sipe’s attorney, Jack Wolfe, told WND there were similarities between Sipe’s case and the allegations against the ‘Texas 3‘, former border agents Ramos and Compean and Deputy Sheriff Hernandez, who has been convicted in a prosecution, also launched by Sutton, of shooting at a van loaded with illegal aliens he thought were trying to run him down:”
When caught a second time transporting illegal aliens by automobile, the perpetrator was not prosecuted. This is similar to the refusal of the federal prosecutors to go after Aldrete-Avila after his second offense of smuggling marijuana into the U.S.
A troubling pattern has appeared. Law enforcement agents from city police to border patrol agents are being prosecuted while lawbreakers are not. This just adds to the extreme conditions they find themselves in many times over. If they have to think twice about using the weapons they have been trained to use to do their jobs, and in some cases, protect their own lives, their effectiveness will be largely diminished. Morale will plummet as confusion abounds as to what is expected of them. Meanwhile, American citizens will suffer because of this confusion, brought about by pressure groups and overzealous prosecutors.
Also, there are reports that, besides the domestic special interest groups pressuring for prosecution, the Mexican government has demanded some of these prosecutions. Mexico encourages its citizens to come into this country illegally and then demands special treatment when those citizens get into trouble with the law.
Protectors of We the People are under fire themselves. They are the ones who are lawfully sworn to protect us. Outside pressure groups, some racially propelled, have narrow interests to serve. They are not always the interests of the average American.
Once that “thin blue line” is breeched or even erased, the barbarians are no longer just at the gates. They are in.
Barbara regularly writes for CapitolHillCoffeeHouse. She also appears in California Chronicle, Border Patrol, and Citizens Caucus. Her primary interest is illegal immigration, but she writes about other subjects as well.
Barbara lives in a large city on the West Coast. Her loyalties are with God, family, country, heritage and borders.
She enjoys music, painting, poetry and song writing.