A Tucson activist was fined at the end of a two-hour trial Tuesday for refusing to leave the Nogales port of entry last May.
Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco ordered Richard Boren to pay $75 for refusing to leave the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry after being ordered to do so by a Customs and Border Protection officer. Boren, who has called the agency’s actions “arbitrary,” has 20 days to decide if he’s going to appeal.
“You chose to make decisions that weren’t yours to make,” Velasco told Boren. “Your presence at a port of entry sliding glass door for an extended number of hours impeded and interfered with these officers’ performance of their duty.”
Boren and two other activists were arrested and cited in May for remaining outside the pedestrian section of the port of entry after being asked to leave numerous times. Sarah Roberts and Shena Gutierrez paid a fine in August, but Boren went to trial.
“It’s never been about the money,” Boren said outside the courtroom. “I decided to fight this because I’m hoping these abuses that take place on a regular basis by CBP, these very arbitrary actions, change.”
On May 24, they were part of a group from both sides of the border that gathered in Nogales for a 48-hour vigil and fast organized by the Border Patrol Victims Network.
Gutierrez’s husband, José Gutiérrez Guzmán, tried to enter the country illegally through the San Luis Port of Entry in 2011. Officers claimed he became combative and hit his head after they shocked him with a stun gun; he was left in a coma. Family members contend his injuries don’t match the officers’ version.
Gutierrez went back to the U.S. side to get some pictures of her husband, when she said she was harassed and handcuffed at the port of entry.
After the vigil, the group went back inside the port to get the name of the officers who they claim mistreated Shena Gutierrez.
On Tuesday, Nathaniel Garcia, port watch commander, said he offered his own badge number and name and the badge number of the officer who they were going to make the complaint against but not her name because he wanted to protect her identity.
Boren said he didn’t recall if he did, but even so, it wouldn’t have been enough because he wanted a name to go with the numbers.
Teresa Small, spokeswoman for CBP, said officers’ names are not secret, but a badge number is normally given since it is tied to an officer. “I don’t know the particulars of that case,” she said, “but (the name) is something we would generally provide.”
Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at email@example.com or 573-4213. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo.