Former US police chief detained at JFK due to his name

Published: March 20, 2017
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Hassan Aden was detained for 90 minutes by the CBP officials. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Hassan Aden was detained for 90 minutes by the CBP officials. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

A former police chief of Greenville, North Carolina, was detained at John F Kennedy Airport in New York on Saturday because his ‘name’ appeared on the watch list.

Hassan Aden, a US citizen for 42 years, was returning from a weekend in Paris for his mother’s 80th birthday when he was held by the US Customs and Border Protection officials for 90 minutes.

Aden, who spent 26 years in service of the police department in Alexandria, Virginia, described the detention on a Facebook post:

“On all of my prior trips, I was greeted by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers with a warm smile and the usual, “Welcome home sir”. Not this time. I approached CBP Officer Chow who didn’t say anything when I handed him my passport and looked at me with a gruff expression and simply stated, “are you traveling alone?”, I knew this was a sign of trouble, I answered “yes”, he then said, “Let’s take a walk”.

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The 52 year-old said he was taken to a back office where a CBP officer told him that his name was “being used as an alias by someone on the watch list”. While his documents were sent to another agency to be  processed, he saw some 25 foreign nationals brought in and released.

“I pointed out the irony of this fact to the CBP officer who was attempting to “clear me for entry”. I told him, as he avoided eye contact, how wrong this scenario was that the only US citizen, career US police officer and chief of police, out of the group of detainees, was the one with the longest unreasonable detention,” Aden said in his social media post.

The former cop, a non-Muslim according to The Washington Post, said that polices like the travel ban push a narrative that “could lead to attitudes that would make authorities suspicious of his name.”

Speaking to NBC News, the career police office said “an hour and a half becomes unreasonable detention.”

“I know how the databases work,” he told NBC. “It doesn’t take 1½ hours to check someone out when you have their passport.”

The Washington Post reported that in an email on Sunday, a spokesperson for CBP did not deliberate of the specifics of the case due to the federal Privacy Act but added that “all travelers arriving to the US are subject to CBP investigation.”

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“At times, travelers may be inconvenienced as we work through the arrival process to ensure those entering the country are doing so legitimately and lawfully,” she said while stressing that the agency’s policy for screening was above race and ethnicity “in all but the most exceptional circumstance”.

“We strive to process arriving travelers as efficiently and securely as possible while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations governing the international arrival process,” wrote the Post quoting the spokesperson.

Aden, who retired in 2015, took to Twitter on Monday to thank people for the support after he raised the CBP detention issue.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 20, 2017 - 2:22PM

    He should be happy he got a chance to prove his innocent . remember you are guilty until proved innocent . Recommend

  • AK
    Mar 20, 2017 - 4:01PM

    Mr.Trump claims that these policies are designed to secure America from attacks. If profiling of Muslims is helping then the US government has every right to implement programmes it claims is designed to save the country.

    However, Muslims in America and outside must now make up their mind whether to live there or go there at all.Recommend

  • cuban
    Mar 20, 2017 - 8:16PM

    He explained that my name was used as an alias by someone on some watch list
    .
    Sound reasonable to me. No big deal.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Mar 20, 2017 - 8:25PM

    Few times former even US Vice Presidents have been subjected to additional screening/searches at US airports and that too when they were traveling within USA itself. Al Gore was subjected to these additional screening/searches one or two times too when he was traveling within USA. And, these happened long before Trump became President. So, blaming Trump is unreasonable. Recommend

  • Madame Sisi
    Mar 21, 2017 - 6:03AM

    And where is “Chow” originally from ? Funny thing is that the officials causing the most trouble are usually those one level removed from being immigrants or illegals themselves. Basically playing patsy to their WASP masters.Recommend

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