Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Time to Go To the Tapes

I'm really puzzled at what happened to Canadian sci-fi author Peter Watts at the Port Huron border crossing. The only facts that seem really clear are that he was stopped by US customs officers. They searched his car. He got out and apparently didn't immediately respond when ordered to get back in. He was arrested, charged with assaulting some customs officer and then released, sans car or coat, the following day on the Sarnia side.

Watts has given an account that seems a little vague on some pertinent details. Some information doesn't appear to be there which makes his account a bit puzzling. I can't say that he's not being honest but I can't say he's telling the entire story either. This was obviously a fast-moving, unexpected and even traumatic event so it's probably unfair to expect Watts to deliver a fully comprehensive narrative.

Why don't the Americans simply release the closed-circuit video they're bound to have of what actually happened at Watts' car. We know that they constantly video everything that goes on at their border crossings. Surely the video will fill in the detail that Watts hasn't yet provided. If he's right, that he was the one assaulted, that should be apparent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most people do not realize that video recordings are being made at the borders, least of all the personnel actually staffing them. They are not involved with their day to day maintenance or monitoring of the surveillance systems, that is done elsewhere. What would have to be done is a subpoena would have to be filed and the footage seized and made available to the defense and prosecution.

Also, the data retention laws specify that those records must be kept for one calendar year, but the BPD and ICE aren't anywhere near being compliant with that yet, so they'll have to move fast.