A 21-year-old criminal justice major with aspirations to become a Border Patrol Agent ended up tackled, tased and handcuffed at an immigration checkpoint in New York Thursday after she began demanding to know why they were detaining her.
The two agents told her they had ordered into the secondary checkpoint at Waddington, which lies on the border of Canada, because she “appeared nervous.”
But she didn’t sound nervous in the video she posted on Facebook as she peppered them with questions about her detainment.
Although they found no drugs in her car, she said she may now be charged with assault on a federal officer, even though it is clear from the video that he had attacked her.
The interaction took place on the side of the road away from the main checkpoint. Jess Cooke told the agents that she would drive off in 20 minutes even if they hadn’t finished whatever they intended on doing, most likely referring to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that stated police were not allowed to detain a person longer than it takes to issue a citation for the sole purpose of bringing the dogs out.
One agent told her they would spike her tires if she dared doing that. Then he told her to either sit inside her car or walk down the road, evidently not liking the fact that she was standing in front of her car, questioning his authority.
“I can stand right here,” she said.
“I’m telling you to stand over there and out of the way,” the agent said.
“I’m not in your way, your little thing is out there,” she said, pointing to the main checkpoint.
“I’m going to tell you one more time and I’m going to move you over there,” the agent responded.
“You touch me, I will sue your ass, understand me?” Cooke said.
“Go for it,” the agent said.
“Touch me then,” she said.
“Move over there,” the agent said, moving in closer to her.
Within second, he had grabbed onto to her in an attempt to move her wherever it was he wanted her to stand, which sounded as it was only a few feet away.
She begins screaming and he can be heard saying, “get on your stomach.”
“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.
Cooke, who will graduate Saturday form State University of New York at Canton with a degree in law enforcement leadership, said she is reconsidering her aspirations to become a Border Patrol Agent.
UPDATE: We reached out to the Border Patrol for comment and received the following response.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is investigating a report from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector about an altercation between an individual and two Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint on Thursday, May 7. The altercation followed a brief verbal exchange between the individual and the two agents regarding their intent to inspect the vehicle.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Office of Public Affairs
The video of the incident is below along with a screenshot from her Facebook page where she describes the incident.
UPDATE II: We obtained the Border Patrol’s use of force policy, which you can read here, but a key section that stands out is posted below.