The Canadian Press
March 6, 2009
VANCOUVER — A British Columbian man has learned the hard way that you don’t ask a U.S. border guard to be polite when he asks you to turn off your vehicle’s engine.
Desiderio Fortunato, of Coquitlam, B.C., asked the guard to say please and instead received a face full of pepper spray.
[efoods]“I just said please,” Mr. Fortunato explained Thursday. “He said ‘get out of the car or I spray you’ and … I thought he was just trying to scare me off or something and I was pepper sprayed from a foot or two away.”
He said it was then that five or six border guards jumped on him, placed him in handcuffs and questioned him for three hours last Monday afternoon.
“I felt like I was attacked by a bunch of wolves. They jumped on me, they threw me to the ground and they kneeled on me.”
But he said the worst part was the pepper spray burning his eyes, and every time he rubbed his eyes he made the problem even worse.
Mr. Fortunato, 54, was born in Portugal, but became a Canadian citizen almost 30 years ago.
During questioning from U.S. officials, he said, the first thing they wanted to know was where he was born.