Border official points gun at Boy Scout



A central Iowa Boy Scout troop just returned from a three-week trip they will likely never forget.

About 10 days into the trip, an innocent action by one of the nearly two dozen Scouts at the Canadian border into Alaska set off a chain of events that lead to a U.S. border official pointing a gun at a scout’s head.

Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox spelled out what happened to him and the Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 as four van-loads of Scouts and adult volunteers tried to drive from Canada into Alaska.

Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.

Just. Wow.

I fondly remember back in the old days when the USA used to be a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.

(And please note the source of this story: not Fox News, not World Net Daily, not Infowars. The source is a local media outlet)


From the Updates Story link in the article you posted :


The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol released a statement to KCCI on Wednesday.

“CBP’s review of this group’s inspection, including video footage review, indicates that our officer did not un-holster or handle his weapon as stated in the allegation. The review revealed nothing out of the ordinary. We have reached out to the Boy Scout troop for additional information in reference to the allegation. The video footage has been referred to CBP Internal Affairs for further review.”

So what .GOV is saying the BSA are lying ?


And apparently rounding up the boy scouts, per this statement is “nothing out of the ordinary”.

From the article you posted …

Fox said that he was told that taking the photo is a federal offense. The picture was later deleted.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000, and (receive) 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Attorney Angela Campbell said the fine and decade-long prison sentence isn’t accurate, and that snapping pictures of border patrol is an evolving area of the law.

“There are some border control policies that are in question as to whether or not it’s a crime to take pictures,” Campbell said.

…prohibits filming, confiscates cameras etc., now claims no evidence… :doh2:

I suppose complaining about government workers is now potentially crimminal too ? Or does that just make us candidates for “the list”. :shrug:

I remember when the USA stood for Peace, Freedom, Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet… and when NATO was in Western Europe ].


I once crossed the Canadian border into Haida Alaska and was offered marijuana by the guard, who didn’t even look at any documents whatsoever.


Frankly, I find this story very unlikely. I can imagine there being a rule or even a law against taking pictures of the border patrol stations. I can imagine them making the car stop and requiring the boy to delete the picture and telling him that what he did was against the law. I highly suspect the gun pulling part of the story was complete baloney. I can’t think of any reason why a kid would take a picture of border patrol and I wonder if there isn’t a sign that says no photography and the kid was just being a punk.


A border patrol agent has no expectation of privacy when he is in public performing his duties. The scout has a First Amendment right to photograph whomever he pleases as long as both are in public. I have heard many cases of police, border patrol, security guards and others telling people that it is illegal to photograph or record (audio or video) them. I have also heard of (and was subject to it myself) people being told it was a federal offense to record/photograph public buildings/structures. IT IS NOT! Know your rights. Photography is not a crime.


Having been on camping trips with Boy Scouts I can attest that on a trip far from home between four van loads of scouts just about everything would be photographed.


Always consider the sources of not only what is posted (internet articles, news stories), but who posts them.

There are people who frequent CAF who make it a habit of posting provocative political topics that seem to only serve the purpose of stirring up muck.

Good rule of thumb is to look up and reviews new threads started by people.:shrug:


I agree. Being quite familiar with Border Protection Officer policy, I can guarantee no officer would point a gun at anyone’s head. We are trained to aim at center body mass. This alone tends to make me think that the article is B.S., as most media articles are. Do officers do stupid things? Sure, sometimes. I just think this article is exaggerated,


There probably are signs about not taking pictures in that area. There are at JFK. NO cell phone calls either. As for the scout’s constitutional rights, that a joke , right? The government does restrict photography in some areas. The agent might not have expectation of privacy but he also shouldn’t be a target for some nut claiming constitutional rights to harass him later.
I used to cross the border a lot and attitude makes a big difference. Be direct and forthcoming and usually it’s no problem. Be smart *** and some agents will throw their weight around. In that case be calm and ask to speak to a supervisor.
This story makes no sense. I could see a van load teenage boys thinking it’s cute to be smart alecks. I doubt a guard would pull a weapon except to shoot at a car that is fleeing the scene.


Here’s an update from about an hour ago (3:26 PM 7/28/14):

Feds open investigation into Iowa Boy Scout border incident

DES MOINES, Iowa —Federal officials released a new statement to KCCI Monday in the incident involving an Iowa Boy Scout troop at the border.

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Homeland Security, has opened in investigation into the allegations made concerning a July 7 incident along the U.S. –Canadian Border involving Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and members of an Iowa-based Boy Scout troop. The OIG is taking the lead in the investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the CBP Office of Internal Affairs.”

The investigation comes weeks after the Iowa Boy Scouts group said a federal agent patrolling the U.S./Canadian border pointed a loaded gun at one of the scouts. Troop Leader Jim Fox said the scout took a picture of the officer as the group tried to re-enter the U.S.

Glad to see that they are looking into this incident. However, it’s pretty apparent that if the media hadn’t have placed a lot of light (and heat) on this issue, it would have never been questioned.


Is a theater public? Because they have rules against photographing there and if you attempt to practice your “constitutional right” they will delete it off your camera and put your tail out on the curb. What about a swimming pool? What if a pedophile decides to use his “constitutional right” to photograph anything he wants to take pictures of children in the locker room? What about a museum with light-sensitive artifacts? What about a bookstore? Should people be allowed to go in and take pictures of the insides of books so they don’t have to buy them? After all, they have a “constitutional right”. There are plenty of instances where there are good reason to not allow photogaphy. I doubt the problem was the agent’s privacy, but a concern about security around the building.


A movie theater is private property. The owners have a right to set policy that no filming (especially of the movie being shown) is to take place. If you refuse, the theater owner/employees may ask you to leave, and if you refuse they may have you arrested for trespassing. Same goes for the bookstore scenario.
A swimming pool is a public place where no one has the expectation of privacy. Inside the locker room is a different story, as one DOES have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a shower/changing/dressing area.
Photography is not prohibited in museums, but using the flash can be.
The fact of the matter is, there have been many lawsuits over just such issues as the one involving this boyscout and border agent, and the plaintiff (the one who has been told to stop the photographing/filming) has won in every case that I am aware of. The courts have responded time and time again that government agencies cannot prohibit the public from taking photographs, videos, or audio recordings in public places and of people in those public places.
The key is to know your rights as well as be aware that you don’t break any actual laws in the process of exercising your rights.


Not all theaters are private. There’s a publicly owned theater where I live that’s located in the middle of a city park. Still, you aren’t allowed to photograph the show.


The government actually can prohibit photography (for example in National Defense Areas or Restricted Areas established in accordance in accordance with the National Security Act of 1947). However, those areas need to be pretty clearly marked. In the case of a restricted area, there has to be a clear delineation of the boundaries of the area and it must be marked with appropriate signage, such as this:

I doubt that such was at the border checkpoint (though I admit I could be wrong…but, again, why would DHS put their IG on the case if it was marked appropriately)


I suspect because of the gun pulling allegation. That’s probably not what they train them to do in the case of a violation of the photography rule. It seems to me that I did see a sign the last time I went through. I think it was a lot simpler then the sign you posted. As I remember, it was a graphic of a camera with red slash sign over it.


The last time I went across a land border was about 5 years ago and I don’t recall seeing anything like that.

Having said that, the no photography signs are very prominent at TSA checkpoints.

In the case of TSA checkpoints, it is understandable, as they are for anti-terrorism purposes (justifiable under national security, even though it is, in practice, nothing but a bunch of security theater). But CBP checkpoints?

To me that seems a lot like a police state: one where the government can photograph the citizenry all they want but where the citizenry better not be caught photographing the government. Like we owe the government fealty, rather than the government recognizing that the citizenry are the masters and they are the servants.


So the accuracy of an article varies as a function of who posted it ?


And that is most likely due to intellectual property rights/copyright laws. Like I said, you have to be careful not to break other laws while you are asserting your rights in another area.


Exactly, and the specific law is cited in the sign. Just like you cannot take photos inside federal courthouses, and there are signs posted there as well. Freedom of the Press does not give anyone carte blanche to take pictures of anyone, any time, in any place. There are specific restrictions. However, the government has been overstepping its bounds and encroaching on the First Amendment rights of the citizens for quite some time now, all in the name of “security”. The courts have done a very good job of hearing these cases and making sound decisions, and most often in favor of the plaintiffs.
I have no problem when there are legitimate security or privacy issues. (And I would venture a guess that most photographers don’t either.) I do have a problem when the government or its agents tell me that I am prohibited from documenting their public activities.


This reminds me of something I saw Sunday night on the Fox News Channel. John Stossel had a program titled Policing America: Security vs. Liberty. It showed armed border patrol agents questioning American citizens in their vehicles on the U.S. side of the border.

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