City Government

Biden Visit Prompts “Illegal Detainment”


Thursday, February 12, 2009– During Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Boise and his appearance at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games at the Qwest Arena, Boise City Police and the Secret Service jointly detained the entire arena, approximately 2,000 people, for the hour or so that Biden was present.

Police cautiously guarded every exit, while attendees were only permitted to enter and exit through the main entrance. Reasonable and prudent move

Once Biden showed up, no one was aloud to enter OR exit the arena. I headed to the main entrance but was stopped short by a venue worker and told that I would not be permitted to EXIT. When I protested, he explained that it was under the order of the Secret Service. Not reasonable and in my mind an illegal detention.

A Secret Service agent then approached me from within the main vestibule and confirmed what I had just been told. All I could do to protest was to point out the illegal (unconstitutional) nature of their actions, per the 4th amendment, which states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…against unreasonable…seizures [including unlawful detention], shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue…but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation…particularly describing the…persons…to be seized.

If the Police stop you for any reason, they must have probable cause. Whether you are held in a jail cell or the Qwest Arena, it is detention just the same.

EDITOR NOTE–On the face of it, our reader makes a valid point. Why be concerned if someone wishes to DEPART a secure area? Hard to argue his logic that LEAVING would not be a threat.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I was on Governors Island in NY when we did the Statue of Liberty birthday bash. Reagan was coming and the ceremony was to be on the island. The Secret Service arrived and demanded that the Coast Guard move several hundred Coast Guard families from their homes in housing overlooking the stage, a VAST inconvenience and unconstitutional act. It took Reagan himself over ruling the SS (and reminding them that the Coast Guard were the good guys) to keep this from happening. Something folk have to remember is that ANYTHING the Secret Service demands and makes happen is completely legal until someone goes to court and stops it. Of all the government agencies I am familiar with, the Secret Service is by far the most professional.

  2. Leaving could very well be a threat. A person with the trigger to a bomb could wait until the target, who is usually late, was in range and detonate it as they left. Wasn’t that the situation in the attempted assassination of Hitler, as dramatized in a recent Tom Cruise movie?

    The police do have the right to restrict ingress and egress in the interest of public safety and do so regularly here in Idaho, most often in the face of a natural disaster such as a wild fire.

    EDITOR NOTE–Never heard of anyone being forced to STAY at a wildfire or flood. Also, bomb argument doesn’t wash because everyone is screened, bomb dogs are working and the place is “sanitized.”

  3. This is Dick Cheney’s fault.

  4. I was in Idaho City when Frank Church announced there his candidacy for president.
    The Secret Service came into town before his arrival, and nearly messed their pants when they saw dozens of pickup trucks parked in town, with rifles and shotguns in the gun racks by the back windshield.
    SS guys told the county sheriff that he had to get those pickups out of town or confiscate the guns.
    Sheriff told SS, “If you want their guns, you take ’em away from them. I’m not going to.”
    SS stuttered and sputtered, but didn’t do anything about it. (Guess they were able to figure out what would be likely to happen if a dozen or so feds tried to take the guns away from several hundred ranchers, cowboys, farmers, etc.)
    SS does tend to go overboard sometimes.

  5. Democracy, It Was Nice to Know Ya.
    Feb 22, 2009, 8:02 am

    It seems to me that, if a government has lost the confidence of its constituents to the point that it lives in terror of meeting them in an open public fashion, it has lost its mandate and needs to be replaced by something else.

    I don’t know if we are there yet, but we are getting closer.

    If nothing else, the situation sure take punch out of tired old cliches like, democracy, live free or die, home of the brave, and on and on.

  6. Read before you go. No one made you attend. It was clearly made public that if you wanted to go, you had to be inside by a particular time and then the place would be “locked down”.
    Don’t blame your ignorance on the Secret Service.

  7. I agree with the writer. Constitutionally the government has an obligation to show reasonable cause before any individual can be detained for any reason, and only by court order. If the SS felt people needed to be herded like cattle, then they should have obtained a valid court order from a LOCAL judge before the event. If they cannot obtain such an order, then they can elect to cancel the event. Personally, Biden is not worth *any* inconvenience on my part.

    Those who favor being herded around like sheep by a rogue government for the sake of “safety” expose themselves as what they truly are – frightened sheep.

  8. While I agree that this seems odd not allowing people to exit, maybe there was a reason. Was that the policy from the start? or did that policy occur “on the fly” with some information or situation only know to the Secret Service? Boise Police should be able to answer those 2 question with a “yes” or “no” without breaking protocol especially after the event. Answers would then determine if this was illegal.

  9. Perhaps the SS wanted everyone locked in so they could catch a perp wanting to shoot the VP.

    Seems reasonable to me being this is Idaho and all. The VP probably has more nutcase Democrat haters (with guns and CC permits) here in Idaho than in any other state. In these situations the VIP usually enters the the lock-down and leaves before the public can exit.

    If you think what happened at the arena is bad try being at an airport when US 1 is about to land!

  10. How about what happened in Oklahoma? A man had a sign that was not flattering to Obama, I believe it said, Abort Obama.

    The police confiscated the sign, detained him, and then the Secret Service searched his house.

    They have returned the sign, indicating that, uh, this was like free speech and should never have been taken. Don’t think the SS apologized however.

    Personally, I think this guy should sue.

  11. The problem arose because VP Biden was late to the event. It was made abundantly clear that the morning session would have controls placed to insure his safety. Weather problems back east caused him to have to attend the afternoon session instead. One must remember that the Secret Service agents attached to him have but one mission. To insure that no harm comes to him on their watch! Do they go overboard? Probably. But they will always err on the side of safety. I was in the audience and yes, we were made to stand in line to get out until he cleared the building (about 20 minutes) No big deal. And as a side bar, Ogolley, I resent you referring to this as a “rogue” presidency. They won! Get over it! If they screw it up, it will be changed at the ballot box. Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, voices such as yours are the reason such extreme measures must be taken to insure the safety of our elected officials?
    The bottom line here is that the event completely overshadowed any inconvenience that was suffered by the audience. To watch those skaters and witness their commitment to excel was truly inspiring and should remain the focus of the afternoon in discussion.

  12. Gordon,
    You are full of it! The Secret Service has never been to Idaho City and they don’t provide protective details for people just announcing their candidacy. Nor do they protect all senators. Nice yarn though

  13. Whatever: I dunno where you got those ideas. They cannot protect the person before he announces, but the minute he announces, he comes under Secret Service protection.
    That’s what the guys in the suits and dark glasses, with plugs in their ears and talking to their wrists, told us. And there ain’t nobody else in Idaho City dressed like that!

    As for saying, “The Secret Service has never been to Idaho City,” well, if that’s correct, you must have a list of every place the Secret Service guys have ever been, huh? Would you mind showing it to me? I would suggest posting it here, but it must be several billion pages long by now.

    Or, if you don’t have it handy, perhaps you could ask for a copy by visiting the SS office at
    550 W Fort St # 732
    Or writing to it at
    550 W Fort St # 732
    Boise, ID 83724
    Or phoning it at
    (208) 334-1403

    Or did you think the Secret Service has never been to Boise? (Maybe they’re more “secret” than I realized.

  14. Can’t we just all agree that this is just another CONSPIRACY? Jeez people.

  15. Naw, dog, I can’t agree to that.
    I don’t think those people are smart enough to conspire; seems more likely they all just act on instinct.

  16. Ok Gordon maybe you are right, since the Secret Service has agents stationed in Boise I’m sure they have been to Idaho City to cross country ski, cut Christmas tress and such…I was really addressing your made up story about them ‘messing their pants’..etc..maybe that happened in some movie you saw once

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: