Ifrah Law Represents U.S. Citizen in Case of Alleged Abuse by Customs and Border Protection; Story Featured in The Washington Post
December 13, 2018
Ifrah Law’s Whitney Fore currently represents Ikechukwu “Ike” Owunna in a lawsuit filed in Virginia federal court asserting multiple violations to Mr. Owunna’s constitutional rights by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. The case was covered in a story appearing in both The Washington Post and the website of The Center for Public Integrity.
In December 2016, Mr. Owunna was returning to his hometown in Maryland after visiting Nigeria to attend a memorial service for his deceased father. When he arrived at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, he was approached by CBP officers, accused of smuggling drugs into the United States, and detained against his will.
After CPB officers received confirmation that there was no contraband found in Mr. Owunna’s body – a confirmation made after long hours of illegal searches, being bound hand-and-foot, racially profiled, and being forced to provide an illegal x-ray of his abdomen at the hospital – Mr. Owunna was released and taken back to Dulles airport.
Whitney Fore told The Washington Post: “What’s at stake here is unfettered and unchecked control by CBP … And what’s at risk is a person’s civil rights, no less a citizen’s civil rights.” She further notes, “I think Ike is very brave for going ahead and doing what he’s doing.”
CBP officers have argued that they are immune from these types of claims because they are federal officers and have a “broad mandate” to protect U.S. borders. A CBP motion to dismiss Owunna’s suit is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2019.