Review clears border officer of pointing gun at Iowa Boy Scout

Federal investigators said Monday that they could not substantiate recent claims that a U.S. border officer drew his gun on an Iowa Boy Scout at the Alaska-Canada border.

“All investigative leads have been pursued and exhausted,” said Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth. “Based on the investigation to date, we do not believe any CBP personnel acted inappropriately.”

The inspector general’s office said it spent $19,000 on the probe, which included reviews of surveillance video and interviews with Boy Scouts executives, as well as all the adults who participated in the trip, U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership and the officers allegedly involved in the incident.


(Denis Poroy/Associated Press)

No adults on the trip saw the officer draw a gun, but the scout leader was told about the alleged incident by several youths in his troop, according to a report on the findings. The scout leader refused to identify the accusers or make them available for interview, the report said.

The incident occurred July 7, when Customs and Border Protection detained a Boy Scout group at the Alcan port of entry because one of the youths snapped a photo of the checkpoint. Federal law prohibits photography of such facilities, according to the inspector general.

A border officer instructed the scout to delete the image and prove that it had been removed. While reviewing the remaining files, the official noticed a photograph of a marijuana bud, which the scout admitted to holding in the picture. The discovery prompted officers to search the vehicle.

Last month, the scout leader told the Iowa TV station KCCI that an officer drew his gun on a member of his troop who was helping remove luggage from the roof of a van. Investigators said a review of surveillance video “gave no indication that [an officer] withdrew a firearm during the encounter.”

The scout leader also said that the group was held at the checkpoint for about four hours, but the inspector general determined that the group was released 49 minutes after arriving at the point of entry.

“Nothing of evidentiary value found in the search of the vehicle or bag,” the report said.

The scout leader later returned to seek help fixing a flat tire, and one of the officers who conducted the search lent him his personal tire-patch kit to make the repair, according to the report.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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