By Anne Schindler
The death of Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Oliver was a gut-wrenching loss for local law enforcement. It also shined a spotlight on a practice few knew about.
Oliver died while chasing a suspect into traffic. But it wasn’t his suspect. He’d been asked to act as backup for a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent stopping a truck full of Hispanic-looking men.
“They are hunting people,” complains one Fernandina Beach businesswoman. “They stop [people] at Winn-Dixie, they stop at the Gate gas stations and they are hunting people.”
The Central American-born businesswoman is a naturalized U.S citizen, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. She describes a climate of fear in Fernandina Beach, due to what she calls a pattern of enforcement by Customs and Border Patrol agents. She believes Oliver was a casualty of a new kind of border war.
“If not for them, none of this would be happening … That officer that went down probably would be alive at this time.”
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