A Canadian who demanded courtesy from a U.S. border security guard says he was pepper sprayed and held in custody for three hours for asking the disrespectful officer to “say please” when ordering him to turn his car off during a search.
“I refused to turn off the car until he said please. He didn’t. And he has the gun, I guess, so he sprayed me,” said Desiderio Fortunato, a Coquitlam, B.C., resident who frequently crosses the border to visit his second home in the state of Washington. “Is that illegal in the United States, asking an officer to be polite?”
The incident occurred on Monday at the Aldergrove border crossing, east of Vancouver, shortly after 12 p.m. Mr. Fortunato, a dance studio director, was travelling to his home in Blaine, Wash., to retrieve a wallet his wife had left during their most recent visit.
He said he was questioned by a border officer who demanded he turn off his car and, when asked to make the request more politely, threatened to spray him with his pepper gun if he did not comply.
“I just felt I should stand my ground about it. I should not be treated like that. No matter what kind of position you are in, if you want respect you have to show respect,” he said yesterday. “I asked him three times and when I didn’t turn the car off, because he didn’t say please, he pepper sprayed me…. It was terrible. For half an hour or so I couldn’t see anything.”