Waddington, NY — A young woman travelling through an interior US Border Checkpoint in Waddington, New York Thursday was assaulted and arrested by border patrol for no reason.
Jess Cooke, 21, says she was driving through the checkpoint, when agents said she looked nervous. She was then routed over for a secondary inspection.
Knowing that the agents had no probable cause to search her vehicle, Cooke refused to consent to search. She was then told that she had to wait for a K-9 Unit to arrive before she could leave.
Being nervous is not probable cause nor reasonable suspicion for a search. While inconsistently answering questions may result in reasonable suspicion, it is unclear whether or not this happened prior to Cooke’s detainment.
Because Cooke had committed no crime she demanded to be let go. However, these agents were set on violating her rights.
The conversation between Cooke and the agents quickly escalated and Cooke was thrown to the ground by the male agent as the female agent deployed the taser.
Cooke said the taser was continually deployed until she stopped screaming. After handcuffing her, agents then illegally opened her trunk and searched her entire vehicle, according to Cooke.
The subsequent search turned up nothing.
This entire detainment was in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that should have prevented it. The ruling stated that police are not allowed to extend a citizen’s detention, during a normal traffic stop, while officers probe for evidence of crimes unrelated to the offense that prompted the initial stop.
They stopped her because she was nervous.
“I was cuffed for over an hour after being out in the Border Patrol car and then brought to the U.S. Customs station in Ogdensburg. I sat there for a good 3-4 hours and got sent home due to they couldn’t figure out what charges to put on me,” Cooke said in a written response to North Country Now.
Cooke told North Country Now that she received scrapes and cuts on her legs, back and chest. She said her wrists are also marked from the handcuffs.
Cooke holds a two-year degree in criminal justice and will graduate this Saturday for Law Enforcement Leadership from SUNY Canton. She had plans to pursue a career in Border Patrol, but due to the recent assault and unlawful arrest, she’s changed her mind, according to North Country Now.
Cooke says she is waiting to hear about possible charges regarding the struggle.
Supreme Court: Cops Can’t Violate 4th Amendment by Prolonging Traffic Stops to Wait for Drug Dogs
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that police are not allowed to extend a citizen’s detention, during a normal traffic stop, while officers probe for evidence of crimes unrelated to the offense that prompted the initial stop.
In the case before the court, Rodriguez v. U.S., Dennys Rodriguez was given a warning for driving on the shoulder of the highway then forced to wait for almost 10 minutes as police awaited the arrival of a drug-sniffing dog.
After arriving at the scene, the dog alerted, and a subsequent search of the vehicle found methamphetamine.
The issue before the court was whether it was reasonable to extend Rodriguez’s detention on the side of the road for longer than needed to deal with the initial offense, absent reasonable suspicion on the part of the officer.
The court voted 6-3 in favor of Rodriguez, with the majority holding that the stop went beyond what was reasonable under the law and setting precedent for the entire country.
Prior to the decision, the U.S. Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, following precedent, held that “extension of the stop… for the dog sniff was only a de minimus intrusion on Rodriguez’s Fourth Amendment rights and was, therefore, permissible.”
Penning the majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, rebuked that contention, holding that detention of a person for any longer than it takes to deal with initial offense, even if only a few minutes, was improper.
“A traffic stop becomes unlawful if prolonged beyond the time in fact needed to complete all traffic-based inquiries,” Ginsburg said.
Police are typically allowed to inspect a driver’s license, ask for registration and proof of insurance and check for any outstanding warrants as all of those actions are geared towards ensuring that vehicles are safely operated, according to Ginsburg.
While “an officer…may conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop,” Ginsburg held, “a dog sniff, unlike the routine measures just mentioned, is not an ordinary incident of a traffic stop.”
“A dog sniff, unlike those stock inquiries, lacks the same tie to roadway safety,” said Ginsburg.
The decision doesn’t mean that Rodriguez will necessarily be in the clear though. His case will now be remanded back to the lower courts to consider whether police had a reasonable basis, outside of the traffic stop, to suspect Rodriguez of being engaged in drug activity.
The dissenting opinions in the 6-3 decision came from Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.
Hopefully the tide is beginning to turn, as potentially indicated by Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s skeptical comment’s regarding the sacrificing of the Fourth Amendment at the alter of law enforcement; made during oral arguments for this case back in January.
“We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,” Sotomayor stated. “Particularly when this stop is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It’s purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper.”
Although there seems to be a continual erosion of our constitutional rights, this time it appears that the Supreme Court has taken an approach that protects citizens from the arbitrary overreach of government.