Canadian Man Got Pepper Sprayed in the Face for Asking US Border Agent to Say Please

Desiderio Fortunato is a stickler for courtesy and respect. But when the Canadian man asked a US Border agent to be polite and say "please," he got something unexpected: pepper spray to his face!

He said he was questioned by a border officer who demanded he turn off his car and, when asked to make the request more politely, threatened to spray him with his pepper gun if he did not comply.

``I just felt I should stand my ground about it. I should not be treated like that. No matter what kind of position you are in, if you want respect you have to show respect,'' he said Tuesday. ``I asked him three times and when I didn't turn the car off, because he didn't say please, he pepper sprayed me ... It was terrible. For half an hour or so I couldn't see anything.'' (Photo: Smaku [Flickr])

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a border officers job is first off not to let the bad guys into the country. their job is not a fun one, and they do realize that their job puts them at a certain amount of risk. i doubt it was a matter of the officers principles that kept him from saying please. these men and women are taught to keep those situations in their control not only for their safety but for the safety of those around them. this man knew he would be getting on the officers nerves by asking him to say please- yes a please is always nice, but not required in their line of duty- if there was that much of a respect issue he should have calmly reached the officers supervisor afterwards, not hassled him while on duty and in a state of mind that is always on guard for danger and suspicious behaviour. and if youre thinking "saying please isn't suspicious behaviour", when you are standing there for hours dealing with that kind of stuff, anything out of the ordinary becomes suspicious, for safety reasons. for the officer to comply with what the traveler was asking of him would be to (at whatever length) give up his position of control, and it also adds suspicion to the mans character. im not defending the pepperspray- but im saying the media's story is one sided, and when you are entering another country you do what their officers ask you to. you dont try to stir things up, and those who think he was just in what he did gives themselves more entitlement than necessary in this case. im not saying this means im for oppression or whatever else the argument was, that assumption is a bit extreme. this is about him protecting your safety from what he saw as a potential threat. the officer was not threatening him to shut off the car with the pepper spray. he did not spray him after asking for a please. he sprayed him when he believed things were getting too far out of control, when the man was not doing what was asked of him. he was not insulting the man, he was not adding physical force, he was following procedure, and a mature and respectful adult would just use some common sense and comply. part of their job while questioning you is looking for psychological irregularities, that could mean youre hiding something or are lying. i laugh that people assume the life of a border security officer should mean having a nice light conversation before letting them into the country. so boohoo if they dont smile or say please. theyre not the welcome wagon.

ps i am canadian, and when i enter the states even if i get a nasty border guard i know i have nothing to hide, and if i just answer the questions and comply with what im being asked that theyll send me on my way. this man pushed it to an extreme (again not saying pepper spray was the answer), and as are all those shouting that rights and liberties have been violated.
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Either way I would deem the Officer to be a jacka$s. This wasn't the first time the guy asked for a "please", so why the hell didn't the Officer suck it up and simply add one more syllable to his more than likely sharp demand.

I've dealt with the border Officers, they're unfair and degrading. Of course, my first experience with the US border Officers didn't turn out to be a good one. I sat in US Customs for a good four hours or more...waiting around for some complete jerk to finish "documenting me".

Just because some ignorant a$sholes got a job in the Enforcement field doesn't give them any right to treat us (Canadian OR American) like utter $hit. Mommy taught you respect, use it.
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I for one think this is wrong. People like that are giving us Americans a bad name. I'm sure the officer has a mom or dad that told him about respect. Canadians are also good business for our company's near the border and with our border patrol being rude because their heads are too far up their a$$es to say something as simple as please or thank you. I don't get it for one because with how the US is going down the drain economically we need all the business we can get. I think someone for got to take their happy pills... I think they need to pick better people for border patrol...people who are professional and respectful. It should be an honor to have that job and if your gonna be moody about it don't be a dumb moron... go back and finish school and become a wrestler or something to help control your anger. I for one don't like how the US is changing and if I was given the chance to move to Canada I'd do it in a heart beat. They are all nicer over there. I think the US has some studying to do... instead of pushing out our chests cause we can... tis lame... kinda like this whole ordeal...
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The word "Please" comes from the phrase, "if it pleases you". Of course it is polite, but it is used for requesting things. It seems to me that the border agent did not want the man to turn off his engine only if it pleased him, but rather that he *must* turn off his engine. Grammatically speaking, the agent was correct in not using the word.

I don't know if pepper spray was the best solution, but there is not really an excuse for not following the legal orders given by a law enforcement officer.
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I was detained for about an hour in Toronto airport about 5 years ago on a business trip. After a thorough search and questioning, I asked why I had been detained. I was told that I didnt respond quickly enough to their routine questions. --We're even now Canada.
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