Welcome to America! (Never Mind the Pepper Spray)

Welcome to America! (Never Mind the Pepper Spray)

Dismaying video footage of Canadian citizen Desiderio Fortunato being pepper-sprayed by (former) CBP officer Joel Helle on March 2, 2009 at the Pacific Highway Crossing.  Mr. Fortunato's 'crime?'  Asking Officer Helle to say 'please.'  Helle was subsequently convicted of harassment ("for choking and threatening to kill a Canadian driver, while off duty, in a road rage incident") and has left the CBP.  Helle's many 'expedited removal' decisions have been undergoing CBP review.  Here is a link to CBP notes on the incident, from a FOIA release.

[A helpful YouTube viewer has added subtitles, given that the audio quality of the video clip is poor.]

News coverage:

B.C. Man Pepper-Sprayed by U.S. Border Guard - CBC News, Mar. 5, 2009.

Canadian Asks Border Agent to Say 'Please,' Gets Pepper Spray Instead - Bellingham Herald, Mar. 5, 2009.

'Say Please' at U. S. Border Nets Pepper Spray - National Post, Mar. 4, 2009.

U.S. Border Guard Pleads Guilty to Harassing B.C. Teen - CBC News, Aug. 12, 2011.

Ex-U.S. Officer's Border Bans to be Reviewed - CBC News, Sept. 27, 2011.

Border Officer Pleads Guilty to Harassment in Road-Rage Incident - Bellingham Herald, Aug. 11, 2011.

Border Agency Reviewing Cases Handled by Ex-Blaine Officer - Bellingham Herald, Oct. 4, 2011.


Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/10/04/2212756/border-agency-reviewing-cases.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/08/11/2136929/blaine-border-officer-pleads-guilty.html#storylink=cpy