An incident at the Alaska-Canada border went from bad to worse when a U.S. border agent allegedly pointed a gun at the head of a detained Boy Scout, the Washington Post reported.
The leader of an Iowa Boy Scout troop told TV station KCCI in Des Moines that a scout had photographed the officer, after which border agents detained the group -- including scouts, troop leaders and volunteers -- for hours.
Troop leader Jim Fox said he was told snapping the photo was a federal offense. The picture was later deleted.
“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000, and (receive) 10 years in prison,” Fox told the TV station.
Officers then began searching the group’s luggage, and one of the troop members attempted to help by removing luggage from the top of a van. Fox said the scout heard the snap of a holster and turned around to an agent with both hands on a loaded pistol pointed at the scout’s head.
After about four hours, the troop was allowed to continue into Alaska.
The troop was on a three-week trip through Alaska and Canada.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency denied the officer unholstered his firearm, according to The Washington Post.
The agency said in a written statement provided to the newspaper that it had reviewed the group’s inspection, including video, and found “nothing out of the ordinary.”
Des Moines criminal defense attorney Angela Campbell told KCCI the threats of a fine and decade-long prison sentence were not accurate. She said photographing border patrol is an evolving area of the law.
The American Civil Liberties Union argues that policies banning the photography of federal agents is unconstitutional. The San Diego ACLU sued the border agency for two incidents at the U.S.-Mexico border.