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http://civilliberty.about.com/gi/dy...nline.com/articles/2003/11/10/news/news13.txt


FBI probing accusations filed against BLM ranger



By MICHAEL A. SALORIO, Staff Writer

Monday, November 10, 2003 2:40 PM PST

GLAMIS — A 19-year-old Encinitas man remains in a wheelchair with limited mobility after suffering spinal cord injuries here Nov. 2 allegedly caused by a Bureau of Land Management ranger against whom allegations of abuse of power and use of excessive force have been raised.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's office in El Centro is investigating the incident that a third-party witness described as being "pretty tragic" and "a shame."

Brian Boyd suffered bruising to the spinal cord in the neck area as well as having vertebrae in his neck and lower back wrenched out of place, said Tom Boyd, the alleged victim's father.

Tom Boyd, 52, of Encinitas, is a commercial airline pilot who served as an aircraft carrier fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy from 1973 to 1993. He retired from military service with the rank of commander and attended the prestigious "Top Gun" fighter pilot school twice during the course of his naval aviation career.


"There seems to be a bunch of cowboys out there abusing people. ... They thought he was a punk kid they could harass. ... We truly believe that an independent investigation is needed to let people know of the abuse," said Tom Boyd.

Roberta Boyd, 46, of Encinitas, is Tom Boyd's wife and Brian Boyd's mother. She witnessed the incident that led to her son being injured and said she was so distraught from seeing the alleged abuse suffered by her son that she had to look away and began dry-heaving.

"If I had interfered in any way, I really believe they were going to arrest me because that's what they told me," said Roberta Boyd.

The BLM rangers involved in the incident were identified by the Boyds and their attorneys as Ray Leloup and R.C. Magill. A spokeswoman with the BLM office in El Centro said Leloup is a ranger assigned to the El Centro office. The spokeswoman said Magill is not assigned to the El Centro office and information on where he is stationed was unavailable.

The Boyds and their attorneys have alleged Leloup was the ranger who injured their son.

The incident as recounted by the Boyds appears to have arisen from an apparent misunderstanding over a recreational use permit the rangers believed Brian Boyd had not purchased allowing him access to the Glamis-area sand dunes.

The Boyds, an avid off-roading family that frequents the Glamis area, were leaving the sand dunes the afternoon of Nov. 2 after having spent the weekend there. BLM rangers were checking vehicles on Gecko Road exiting the area for the recreational use permits guests are required to purchase to access the dunes. The Boyds had purchased two yearlong recreational use passes allowing them access to the Glamis sand dunes area.

According to Brian Boyd's parents, a long line of vehicles was backed up on Gecko Road. Their son was traveling separately in his off-road pickup truck and got tired of waiting. He decided to spend some extra time in the dunes and planned to get back in the line with his family once they were closer to Highway 78.

A short while later Brian Boyd used his cell phone to call his parents and said he was being harassed by a woman dressed in plain clothes who demanded to see his recreational use permit.

Brian Boyd was in a nearby area and Roberta Boyd proceeded there on foot to help her son resolve the misunderstanding over the permit. Leloup and Magill had responded to the area by the time Roberta Boyd arrived and were questioning her son.

Roberta Boyd said she forgot to bring one of the two yearly passes with her. She and her son pointed out to Leloup and Magill that guests who had not purchased permits were merely being required to buy weekly passes as they exited the park. Roberta Boyd told the rangers she would purchase the weekly permit for her son in an effort to quickly resolve the situation, but the rangers refused to allow her to do so.

"I don't understand why they would not let me buy the weekly pass to resolve the whole issue. There was this whole line of traffic and people without passes were being asked to buy the weekly passes. They were all given the opportunity, but we weren't," said Roberta Boyd.

Leloup then asked Brian Boyd for his driver's license and he told the ranger it was in his pickup. It was when Brian Boyd turned around to get his driver's license that the alleged abuse of power and excessive use of force occurred.

"Brian turned to the left and just as he broke eye contact with the BLM ranger he grabbed him from behind with a chokehold using his right arm and he used his left arm to put pressure behind his neck like he was trying to snap it," said Roberta Boyd.

Her son immediately fell to the floor with Leloup still using the chokehold on him and Magill then jumped on top of both of them, said Roberta Boyd. It was at this time that her son began telling the rangers that he could not feel his legs.

"He told them ‘I can't feel my legs. I need medical attention. I can't feel my legs,'" said Roberta Boyd.

Roberta Boyd said Leloup told Magill her son was lying about his injuries and that both men picked him up, dragged him about 10 feet through the sand and released him onto the back of an ATV, causing the injuries to his lower back.

"The arresting officer (Leloup) said he was faking it and they both released Brian and he basically crumbled down to the ground because he couldn't support his weight on his legs," said Roberta Boyd.

The rangers are then alleged to have waited 20 to 25 minutes before calling for medical help even though there was a paramedic on standby at a nearby ranger station. Tom Boyd had by this time gotten onto Highway 78 and was unaware of the incident involving his wife and son.

Brian Boyd was taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, where doctors ordered him life-flighted to San Diego because of concerns his neck and back were broken.


"Tom had not seen any of this and had no idea what had happened except for bits and pieces I had told him over the patchy cell phone service. Tom had a lot of questions and he (Leloup) kept telling us to shut up or we were going to be arrested," said Roberta Boyd.

"The way my son was beaten was outrageous," said Tom Boyd.

The Boyds' allegations against Leloup cannot be easily dismissed because of a third-party witness who saw the incident and was so angered by what he saw that he left his contact information on a note placed on the windshield of Brian Boyd's pickup.

"Every time we fly over the area we think it's a nice-looking place to go to. This time we decided to drive by the sand dunes," said Lee Mize.

The Mizes stopped at the BLM ranger station near Highway 78 in Glamis to look at a map of the area when they heard "a lady" arguing with "a young man" who they later learned was Brian Boyd. The Mizes were about 20 to 30 feet from where the argument was taking place. Mize said he and his wife really did not start to pay attention to the argument until two rangers (Leloup and Magill) arrived on their ATVs.

Lee Mize said he could not make out the discussion between Brian Boyd and the two rangers, but he described it as being "a heated discussion going back and forth." Lee Mize added it was when Brian Boyd turned around to go to his pickup truck that he witnessed a "tragic" incident.

"The next thing I see is this kid turning around and take a few steps towards the back door of his pickup truck. When he reached for the door handle it looked like the officer was trying to block him from doing it. ... The officer grabbed the kid in a chokehold with his right arm that appeared to me to be very unnecessary. He put his left arm behind the kid's head and took him down real strong, real violently. It appeared to me that by doing that you could really hurt somebody," said Lee Mize.

The second ranger then jumped on top of both men, said Mize. It was after both rangers had handcuffed Brian Boyd and gotten off of him that Mize witnessed what he described as a "sickening" sight.

Lee Mize said: "The arresting officer grabbed him (Brian Boyd) by the back of the neck and started hammering his face into the dirt. I thought that was uncalled for because I didn't see that kid moving. He was just laying there saying he was hurt."

Lee Mize continued: "One of the officers said ‘Ah, hell, he's not hurt' and they pick him up off the ground and they drag him to the ATVs a few feet away. Then they held him there and let him go. Apparently, he had no feeling in his legs because he just fell down onto the back of the ATV and then to the dirt. He said ‘I have no feeling in my legs. I'm hurt.' I just thought the whole thing was a shame," said Mize.

"The way they just stormed at him it was like they thought he was some kind of threat. It was just way too much an abuse of power. If the kid had taken a swing at them it would've been different, but he just stuck out his hand to grab the door handle of his truck," said Lee Mize.


According to family, Brian Boyd remains in a wheelchair, cannot walk more than a few steps before experiencing debilating back pain and has no feeling in his right leg below the knee. He has been unable to attend his aviation science classes at Palomar College in San Marcos and it is unknown when he will be able to resume his studies.

"His whole future is in jeopardy because of these guys," said Tom Boyd.

Tom Boyd said his biggest worry is that the investigation of the incident will be whitewashed by federal law enforcement officials. His attorneys are looking into whether the incident occurred on state land, thus allowing the Imperial County Sheriff's Office to perform its own investigation.
 

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Yep, they should spend some quality time in a nice prison, and as part of the general population, since we all know how popular they would be with the other inmates...
 

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Those two officers, if you can call them that need to be put away for a long long time.

God if I had been there and that was my child I hate to think of what would have happend to those two, I'm sure you'd be reading abought two shot and dead BLM hero's or some such BS.
 

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Josh, I second the emotion. I don't know the dad is restraining himself right now.
 

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A couple of highly-trained tax collectors in action. Well, we could really do without most of the armies of tax collectors we have thrust upon us - but that is another matter.
 

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IF, and there is a big and very ugly IF here, If the story is correct, then the rangers are in the wrong. Sadly, if y'all note the source, this is NOT an unbiased source at all. Pay attention to the way the story is written. There is nothing about the story to indicate anything the rangers did was ever right. The story appeals to emotion on so many levels, most of which are not relevant. For example, look at the credentials of Tom Boyd. Why they heck are these important? Does being an airline pilot or a former Top Gun anything have anything to do with the story? Does this make him more credible as some sort of witness or in some way more credible in telling a story? No, it does not. In fact, it is a very deliberate attempt at covering over the fact that the man is NOT a credible witness presenting an unbiased story as the injured party is his son. This is the, "Oh, poor man, he is a big hero and his son got roughed up" angle. Daddy's credential are zilch.

*** are his son's great credentials? I don't care what daddy did. I want to know about the son. Why don't we know any more about him? Could it be that he is a felon? Is he a drug addict? If we are going to be tossing around credentials, then what are the relevant credentials of the parties actually involved. Granted, they probably have zilch to do with the actual event, but if we are going that route, then they should be disclosed.

Why aren't mom's credentials presented? What about the Mizes?

Did you notice that the Mizes gave some of the best accounts. The rangers jumped on the man like he was some sort of threat. They also reported that they could not hear the heated argument, but that Boyd was jumped on after he tried to go to his truck. Could it have been that Boyd made a threat or a reference to a weapon in the truck and was acting like he was going to get it? Of course.

Notice that parts of the story are not told by the Mizes, but by the Boyds where WERE NOT THERE. They recount the story like the Mizes, only they didn't witness a thing.

Aside from the credentials and lack of specifics on the situation to know why the officers used so much force, I really liked the fact that there is that added government conspiracy paranoia angle. There is no evidence of this time of a government conspiracy to coverup or whitewash this incident, but Tom Boyd, the great Top Gun pilot, was quoted that was what worried him the most. I can see it now, "My kid may never walk right again, but I am worried about a whitewash of the incident by the government!" What a load of emotion-tugging garbage. There is no justification, just some worry, and HE IS NOT THE INJURED PARTY!

If the officers are wrong, I firmly believe in keel-hauling, but I have trouble believing the story based on the source of the story and how it is written in the biased manner it is.
 

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Hmmm ... breaking someone's neck over a tax of a couple of dollars. Interesting balance of competing harms. But then I suppose if a family on a day out together don't all appear to be falling into line for the tax collectors - and especially if one should dare to utter the wrong words to a tax collector, a broken neck should be expected.
 

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Double Naught Spy - you're thinking what I'm thinking.

This story is a crappy piece of journalism (what isn't these days). If the boy had made threats do you think the mother would incriminate her own son, or play innocent and wait for the lawsuit money?

On the other hand, if the agents really did what they're accused of they should get a taste of their own medicine, and then some.
 

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The reason why it is so important to establish the credentials of the victim and his family is because most who read this article without would stereotype those doing the off-roading as being "tattooed freaks" like you see on freestyle motocross. There is no attempt here to cover up a witness without credit. In actuality, it seems like the authorities are always given the benefit of the doubt and their credentials are almost always presented...so it is often assumed that the victim must be a scumbag. You can't say that in this case.

If I read correctly, the mother witnessed the events along with the Mizes. And Mize's account is the one that is so slanted against the ranger. SO you have the son, the mother, and the Mizes all giving firsthand accounts of excessive force.

Fact of the matter is that nobody needs to be wrestled like a steer for fogetting to bring his pass to the recreation area. I'd bet money that kid didn't communicate any threats over this stupidity. He probably was just getting his license and hoping that these "officers" were going to be decent about it. You'd probably have a few heated words for these yahoos also once you realized they were just being pricks.

And who would question whether the actions of government officials/agents ever get "whitewashed" or swept under the carpet?? Which forum is this???:rolleyes:
 

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I've gotta agree with Double Naught Spy on this one also. While it's tragic, we're only hearing one side. If it's true I hope they get a long and very nice, lovely view of the floor while Bubba has them bent over.
 

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DHMeieio said:
The journalistic aspects of the story are lacking (DNS has some good points), but I really am irked by the plethora of uniformed tax collectors on public lands. If they need to limit access somewhat to keep an area from being loved to death, access can be limited without charging for the privilege like an amusement park. Especially since much if not all of the funds collected go into the general fund and get wasted on social programs instead of being used to fund recreation activities and upkeep on those public lands.
This is a good point.

Most of the users don't mind paying the fees thinking they are contributing to their hobby until they find out that the money has been diverted/misused and the maintenance of their area was neglected. You even find cases where the money was used for other causes that eventually ended their access to the area they thought thay had been funding all along. The off road community is always fighting the EPA or battling over the habitat of a flower or an insect. Honest science would show that these recreation areas create far less environmental impact than your average shopping mall....as always with the condition that it is properly managed.
 

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Man are you guys living in the dark, the BLM has a reputatuion for being gestapo like. Just check in on any mining or metal detecting forum. They sieze land then kick out people that have been living there all of their life! The abuse in this story dose not surprise me a bit.
 

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I see above that some people have rushed to judgement on this and it makes me a little worried. This is not a police report, or even an unbiased report. It is obviously slanted. Now, if it is true, then the LEOs are in trouble, but I can't immagine that any rangers would yolk some guy just bc they felt like it. There has got to be a reason for going hands on with this guy and I bet when the truth comes out, he went for a weapon in the car, had dope that he was trying to destroy, or something like that. I have had to grab folks that were totally unarmed bc they just got belligerant and said F This, I'm leaving. Well....sometimes you can't just leave and then the fight is on, but no LEO that I have ever met would just jump on someone for no reason. There has to be more to the story.
 

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If they actually put him in a chokehold and then executed a takedown as the story described would you still support them? When I was in martial arts we learned quite a few takedowns (some of them closer to body slams), some of them from headlocks or chokeholds where it was understood the persons neck could be broken in the process, and thats not something I would expect police to be using. Not when there are so many other takedowns easily executed using a leg or legs or an arm/hand.

Unless the kid was trying to use lethal force on them what is their justification for paralyzing him by putting him in a chokehold and then using that as leverage for a takedown?
 

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sounds to me like the father has a very good idea of what government agencies will do to make themselves appear nonthreatening, even when all evidence shows otherwise

I've heard many stories about BLM employees doing highly questionable things.. what most people don't realize is that BLM rangers (or whatever you call them) have more government support than LEO's.. if you get arrested by a park ranger (and yes, it does happen), you don't go through the normal booking, one phone call, etc. procedures that happen in civilian life.. BLM rangers are not civilians

I get the impression the father knows this.. his family isn't asking complete strangers for sympathy for their son.. they'll deal with that themselves.. but they don't want to see this story get swept under the bureaucratic carpet

at least that's my take on it.. yeah, it's a bias story.. doesn't mean it's not true, tho

and a severe spinal cord injury is pretty easy to document.. I highly doubt they're making that up
 

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Mus said:
If they actually put him in a chokehold and then executed a takedown as the story described would you still support them? When I was in martial arts we learned quite a few takedowns (some of them closer to body slams), some of them from headlocks or chokeholds where it was understood the persons neck could be broken in the process, and thats not something I would expect police to be using. Not when there are so many other takedowns easily executed using a leg or legs or an arm/hand.

Unless the kid was trying to use lethal force on them what is their justification for paralyzing him by putting him in a chokehold and then using that as leverage for a takedown?
I trained in defensive tactics with these guys less than a year ago and they do not use any "choke holds" or anything like that that would intentionally cause spinal injury. Having said that, I have seen suspects that were grabbed around the chest and tried to fight free and ended up with the officers arms around their head, but it never started out as a choke hold. Most civilians see every hold that involves the upper torso and head as some form of choke hold, but it is not so. Their DT is designed not to cause injury...but if the suspect resists, he will get hurt and the more he resists, the more he gets hurt. We always try not to do permanent damage, but when you are dealing with someone that is actively risisting they can get hurt badly. Maybe the suspect went for one of the officers guns during the struggle? We just don't have an objective report of what happened to judge from. I would like to see what the suspect was arrested and charged with. That usually explains a lot.
 

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Ah, El Centro and Brawley.

Well, for a sanity check on the Brawley area and LEOs. I was dove hunting about 15 years ago with 3 other college buddies outside Brawley. A CHP officer drove up to us (in the field), 4 young males with loaded shotguns, stopped and asked us about some dude that drove into an irrigation canal up the road. We did see the guy and told the officer what we saw. The funny thing is that here we are, four idiots with loaded shotguns standing around a LEO sitting in his vehicle. But then again, the CHP officer did make a point to tell us to send any DFG guys his way in case we got tagged for "hunting after dusk" (it was getting dark) since the reason we were late getting out of the field was giving a statement to the CHP officer.

Funny but true story especially considering the current state of affairs concerning guns and California.
 
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