“Ma’am do I need to taze you to get you out of your car?” “Do I need to cut you out of your seatbelt to get you out of your car?”
On a backcountry road, Clarisa Christiansen was threatened with a taser and knife by Border Patrol agents while her two terrified children watched from the backseat.
Clarissa Christiansen speaking: I was put in a situation where I was in the middle of nowhere. Three agent men against one woman with her two children in the middle of the desert, where nobody’s around, they could have done anything to me and my kids.
I live out here in the Sierrita Mountains. Been living out here for almost 18 years with my family. I have 2 kids, a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, little boy and girl. Just the last years, I noticed quite a bit of activity when it comes to the border patrol. You feel like you’re being watched for no reason all the time.
This is where they stopped me. I was picking up my daughter. They got out of the vehicle and asked me if I was a U.S. citizen and I said, “Yes. Is there a problem?” He comes up to the door, kind of looks in and says, “Well, I’m going to need you to step out of your vehicle, so we can search your vehicle.” I was like, “No. You’re not searching my vehicle. Why did you pull me over?” So it turned into kind of an argument back and forth, why did you pull me over versus I don’t need to tell you why I pulled you over until you get out of your vehicle. So, I started to put it in gear and they were like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re not going nowhere.”
He told his other guys, “This one’s being difficult. Get the Taser,” and he opens up my door and he says, “Ma’am, do I need to tase you to get you out of your vehicle?” and I was like, “No, you don’t need to do that. You’re acting ridiculous. Why did you even pull me over?” Then he comes up to my seatbelt, pulls out a knife and says, “Ma’am, do I need to cut you out of your seatbelt?” and I was like, “No, you don’t need to do anything like that.” I was like, “All you need to do is tell me why you pulled me over, you know? This is ridiculous. I got 2 young kids in the car.”
Then he took the keys from my ignition and I was forced to get out of my vehicle. If I didn’t get out of the vehicle, I felt like this man that was threatening to tase me and cut me out of my seatbelt was going to hurt me. I told my kids to stay where they were, because they were like, “Mommy, what’s going on? Where are you going?” and I was like, “Just stay where you are and just watch.”
Boy: When they pulled us over, they were just distracting us.
Girl: They were bullying my mom. They were talking mean and they were saying get out of the car without telling her why.
Mother: How do you feel when you see border patrol now?
Boy: Mad. Kind of feel mad or sad. Just kidding, I just feel mad. I saw one slash the tire and that’s not nice.
Clarissa: They slashed my tire. It was a pretty obvious slash, straight cut on the side wall. They just seem to think they can do whatever they want and bully everybody around. It’s just not right. It’s just not right. They scared me. They scared my kids. They changed my view on basically the way I look at them now.
Slide Says: Let’s hold the Border Patrol accountable.