BLM ranger abuse leads to paralysis of ORVer


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Dec 26, 2001
Anybody familiar with this story? Any updates?

FBI probing accusations filed against BLM ranger


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.

An ICSO spokesman said the investigation into the incident is being handled by the FBI office in El Centro.

Bob Sellers, the supervisory resident agent at the FBI office in El Centro, said a complaint against the BLM rangers has been received by his office from the Boyd family's attorneys.

"We have received a complaint concerning the incident. We don't know any of the specifics involved yet. ... We'll interview the involved parties to determine the viability of these allegations like we do in every case," said Sellers.

The Boyds said ultimately they would like to see the rangers involved in the incident face criminal charges. They are also planning on filing a civil lawsuit against the BLM and the rangers involved in the incident.

Officials with the BLM office in El Centro were unavailable for comment.

Tony Staed, the BLM's deputy state director for external affairs, said information on the incident has not yet made its way to the BLM's state headquarters in Sacramento. Staed said there are a variety of disciplinary actions that could be taken against the rangers if the allegations against them are determined to be true by the investigation.

The Boyds have asked that anyone who might have witnessed the incident to call the legal firm representing them, Singleton & Associates in San Diego, at (619) 239-3225.
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Moderator /
Damn Yankees
Nov 21, 2000
That's down right tragic. I hope the boy will be OK and I hope they nail the ranger.
Sep 18, 2001
This is just another example of abuse of power by law enforcement. I admit that these guys are doing a job that is not easy, but they are very visible to the public when they screw up. I hope the kid recovers and the people responsible are reprimanded.

CR Swade

Jan 18, 2001
Reprimanded?! I can tell you this, if it were one of my three sons they hurt, I'd own the jackoffs for the rest of their lives. This is one of those times where if criminal prosecution doesn't take place, civil court w/ $$$penalties will do the trick. Sorry, but I've got no sympathy for somebody not using the dead weight on their shoulders, especially if they are a civil official.



Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
N. Texas SP
Nov 25, 1999
Please pass additional info along on this board.&nbsp; This is very tragic.