The encounter happened on Interstate 8 east of Yuma in April of last year
Steven Anderson, who is minister of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, was found not guilty Friday afternoon after a two-day trial on charges of obstructing a highway and failure to obey instructions of a law enforcement officer.
“I’m thrilled. I’m happy about it,” Anderson said moments after the verdict was handed down. “I think it asks the question ‘Why was someone who was found in court not to be doing anything wrong, was brutalized and tasered like I was.’”
Anderson was driving east on Interstate 8 on April 14, 2009 when he drove into the Border Patrol checkpoint at milepost 78. While at the checkpoint, Anderson was stopped and questioned by a Border Patrol agent about his citizenship.
Anderson did not answer and instead replied that he was exercising his Constitutional rights and did not want to answer any questions. He kept asking if he was free to leave.
A Border Patrol agent referred Anderson to the secondary inspection area after a canine allegedly alerted to his vehicle. However, Anderson refused to move to secondary and stayed in his vehicle even after multiple requests from both Border Patrol agents and officers with the Department of Public Safety.
“I was exercising my Constitutional rights. I knew they wouldn’t find anything and they didn’t,” Anderson told the Yuma Sun. “It is an unconstitutional checkpoint and I basically refused a warrantless search of my vehicle.”