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U.S. Citizen Says Border Patrol Terrorized Him

PHOENIX (CN) - Border Patrolmen beat and terrorized a U.S. citizen and ripped up his Social Security card, then interrogated and terrorized him and dropped him off on a lonely desert highway, where he was run over by a car, the man claims in Federal Court. And he says the Border Patrol did all this after he showed them his U.S. passport and birth certificate.

Jorge Barrera sued the United States, eight unknown Customs and Border Protection agents, and the man who ran him over,

Barrera says he was going to Indio, Calif. on April 18, 2010 to look for work when he was "stopped and detained by two unnamed border patrol agents ... [who] verbally abused and beat plaintiff, bringing him to his knees."

The agents asked for proof of citizenship, and when he gave them a copy of his Social Security card, they tore it up in front of him and arrested him. "Plaintiff also produced a passport and his United States birth certificate. Notwithstanding his proof of United States citizenship, defendants Unnamed Border Patrol Agents arrested plaintiff without any cause whatsoever and transported him to a Border Patrol office in southwestern California," the complaint states.

There they fingerprinted him and interrogated him for an hour. They refused his request to make a phone call.

"Thereafter, one of the unknown Border Patrol agents instructed one of the other unknown Border Patrol agents, who had previously beaten plaintiff, to take him by car to plaintiff's home in Yuma, Arizona, where plaintiff's wife and child reside. Plaintiff was placed in a Border Patrol sedan in a cage in the back seat. After riding for approximately one-half hour, the unknown Border Patrol agent driving the vehicle accelerated to a speed of over 100 m.p.h. and laughing, asked plaintiff, 'Are you afraid?' Said unknown Border Patrol agent then stated, 'I am not going to take some Mexican home.' The said unknown Border Patrol agent then ordered plaintiff from the vehicle and abandoned him on a dangerous rural highway far from any help."

The "unknown Border Patrol agent undertook to transport plaintiff to his home in Yuma, Ariz., and knew that, in doing so, it was necessary for plaintiff's safety and protection that he not be abandoned on a rural highway far from any help," Barrera says.

After the Border Patrolman dumped him in the desert, Barrera says, he was run over by a Ford pickup driven by Jose Gonzalez, as he walked along State Route 111 in Imperial County, Calif.

Barrera seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, including cruel and unusual punishment. He also sued Gonzalez's employer, JLG Harvesting.

He is represented by A. James Clark of Yuma.

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