North country residents have mixed views — and strong opinions — about the value of traffic checkpoints routinely set up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents assigned to monitor the American side of the U.S.-Canadian border.
Based on random interviews, several said they believe border checkpoints are necessary to keep illicit drugs, illegal immigrants and other unlawful activities out of the country.
However, many also said they’re concerned that too many law enforcement officials — including border patrol agents — unlawfully stretch their authority by using aggressive tactics when interrogating law-abiding citizens traveling in their own country.
Last week, Jessica A. Cooke, 21, Ogdensburg, was pulled over at a border checkpoint in Waddington by border patrol agents who wanted to search her car’s trunk. During an altercation that followed, Ms. Cooke allegedly was subdued with a stun gun.
The incident, which was captured on a cellphone video taken by Ms. Cooke, has prompted a spirited debate on social media sites.
[Caution: obscene language]
Ms. Cooke, a SUNY Canton criminal justice major who graduated Saturday, claims she was wrongfully assaulted and has threatened to file a lawsuit. (Read more from “North Country Residents Have Mixed Views on U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoints” HERE)