Deep reflection from Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva on his constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure — eight days after he was detained by the Department of Homeland Security at San Francisco International Airport.
“By me, a public official, giving in to something like that, then we are no better than these countries that we talk about. That’s really the difference between them and us, is our United States Constitution. That’s what makes us a country of freedom,” said Silva, as he spoke out.
It was his first council meeting since the incident, but no member of the public or the council brought the situation up.
According to Silva, his city laptop, a second computer and his cell phone were all confiscated without explanation as he returned from a conference in China.
He was forced to reveal his passwords and was told his devices would be returned in 48 hours.
“Maybe I missed the rendezvous point,” he said.
Silva’s attorney has filed a motion against DHS claiming agents have violated the mayor’s fourth amendment rights by demanding those passwords and seizing his property without a warrant or reasonable suspicion.
While Silva stresses no espionage or indecent activity will be found on his devices, he is concerned about city business.
“I bet you I have a lot of bankruptcy stuff between the city of Stockton and creditors, confidential info like that, lawsuit payouts things like that … things that are happening with the police department … emails I get, and that could be sensitive too. And I’d hate for those things to get leaked as well, so that’s the concern from some of the folks. At what point can you shut the government off and say no more?” he said.
DHS, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General have not commented on any possible investigation connected to this case.