Wednesday, January 26, 2011
No jail time for Kahentinetha Horn
No jail time for Kahentinetha Horn
Jan. 26, 2011
By Brenda Norrell
On January 21, 2011, Kahentinetha Horn pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting police officers and obstructing justice. The charges arose when the publisher and editor of Mohawk Nation News was attacked at the Akwesasne Canada-US border on June 14, 2008 by Canadian Border Service Agents (CBSA.)
Her lawyer, Phil Schneider, and the crown attorney at Cornwall Court agreed that if she pleaded guilty to the obstruction, the assault charge would be withdrawn. The judge gave her a sentence of an absolute discharge, with no criminal record.
Background: Kahentinetha had a problem that occurred at the border two and a half years ago one June 14, 2008. She drove to the Canada-US checkpoint on Cornwall Island with two Mohawks, a man and a woman. They were pulled over allegedly because the woman passenger had an outstanding arrest warrant.
An hour went by. She said that around 2:15 pm, “We were surrounded by about a dozen flak jacketed, steel toe booted, gloved and well armed special squad."
The male passenger got out and sat on the nearby bench. The customs officers wanted to speak to her female passenger, who was reluctant to get out. The CBSA pulled her out, pushed her to the ground, handcuffed, subdued her and took her away.
Kahentinetha said, “I became afraid for my safety. They had no reason to stop me. When they asked me to get out of the car, I became scared after I saw what they did to her."
The mob of guards came around to her side ordering her to get out without giving a reason. She hesitated.
She told them, “I’ve done nothing wrong, have no outstanding charges, contraband, or reason to be questioned.”
After the treatment of the others who were under her protection, she wondered what they would do the owner of the car. “I told one customs officer after another, “I refuse to be mistreated like my passengers." They gave her no guarantees this was not going to happen to her or worse. She had no independent witnesses.
Twelve large male and two female customs officers swarmed around. “I saw big trouble for me if I got out," Kahentinetha said.
At a signal from a guy taking orders by cell phone, they pounced on her, pulled her out and started twisting her left arm. The pain was so severe she thought they were trying to break it. She screamed and tried to pull her arm away. (This is all on the Canada Customs video.)
She began to think they were after her, not her passenger. They obviously knew who she was. They kept calling their superiors and must have been told to take her out and arrest her, no matter what.
The question is why did they need so many large male guards to deal with a 68-year old woman? They had taken a long time verifying her age, address, background and car.
“I’ve been through this before with police officers who have tried to put me in hospital or a morgue. There seems to be a lot of anger towards me."
They finally dragged her handcuffed behind her back into the customs house where she was out of sight. She was put alone in a cell and treated roughly. One of the guards would tighten the cuffs. He tried to bend her over and push her arm up to stop the blood from circulating into her arms and across her chest. It seemed like they knew what they were doing.
“An officer stood in front of me and tried to pull my head down towards her crotch area. I found that very disgusting." They both kept yelling at her to bend forward.
"What really scared me was I could feel them trying to pull my pants down as I was being bent over. At that moment I saw stars, became dizzy, starting panting and having pains in my shoulder and across my chest and back. I almost passed out," said Kahentinetha. The guards had tasers, which is electric shock that can kill a person. “They thought they could get rid of me without using it," Kahentinetha believed.
It was at that moment her brother, Taiotekane, a lawyer, and his son Kanatase appeared. Everybody backed off. He wanted to talk to her privately. They went to a room. He realized she was having serious physical problems. Her eyes were becoming glazed, her face was flushed and she had a hard time breathing. He demanded she be taken immediately to the hospital.
Mohawk Constable Pyke contacted the emergency team from Hogansburg, New York, who rushed an ambulance. His sister, a paramedic, began to deal with Kahentinetha. Her quick work saved her life.
When she got to Cornwall Community Hospital, doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack. Before this she never had problems with her heart or health. Her heart was damaged permanently. Since then, she had to stop a lot of activities.
Kahentinetha realizes that every indigenous person who crosses the border could be subjected to this treatment. It looks like the CBSA have hired those who have no concern for the lives of those who traverse the border.
The border guards deliberately misstated the facts. They knew Kahentinetha’s true age. Yet they described her as being a “large strong 55-year-old woman," which is untrue. Such disinformation is sent out to keep the public uninformed. Don’t believe anything the CBSA says. Beware!
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Also read: 'Kahentinetha Horn: Resistance'