Video footage of a woman’s run-in with an aggressive Border Patrol agent has prompted an ACLU lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. The video shows the woman being pulled over and harassed with her children in the car, with the agent threatening to cut her out of her seatbelt with a knife.
In May of last year, Clarisa Christiansen was driving her two children home from school—all U.S. citizens. They live in Three Points, Arizona, west of Tucson and 40 miles north of the border.
A Border Patrol official stopped the Christiansen’s car on a stretch of dirt road between her daughter’s elementary school and the family’s home, the ACLU complaint reveals. The agent asked if Christiansen was a citizen, and she said she was. He then asked to search her car.
When Christiansen refused, the agent became agitated but still would not give her a reason for the search, insisting she get out of the car. The two began to argue, and two more agents approached the car.
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“You’re not going anywhere,” the agent told her when Christiansen said she was leaving. He then told the other agents. “This one is being difficult, get the Taser.” He opened the driver’s side door and demanded that she get out.
As her children grew panicked, the agent approached Christiansen with a retractable knife and threatened to cut her out of her seatbelt. He then reached in to her car and took the keys out of the ignition—still without giving Christiansen an explanation.
With no choice but to comply, Christiansen exited the car and gave the agent her ID
That’s when Christiansen noticed the slashed tire. Her rear tire had been cut at some point during the 35-minute stop. Luckily, Christiansen was able to call her brother for help changing the tire, as she was stranded with her kids on a sweltering day with no one around for miles.