----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul S. Highland" <[email protected]
To: "TrainOrders List" <[email protected]
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Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 13:34
Subject: [Amtrak] Fwd: Update on man arrested for trespassing at Amtrak in New Orleans; 19 Aug
> Reposted from the Trains Newswire @ <http://www.trains.com
> Amtrak arrests Sunset Limited passenger for trespassing
> NEW ORLEANS -- Amtrak's no trespassing policy came into sharp focus last month when a passenger on
> the eastbound Sunset Limited got off the train in New Orleans Saturday, August 19 and walked up the
> platform to where a locomotive was idling. He wanted to take a photograph of it. Stopped by an
> Amtrak police officer, he was arrested, booked and spent the night in a city jail. The train
> departed without him.
> The passenger, James Bourgeois, a 60-year-old retired pharmaceutical salesman from Houston, Texas,
> en route to Pensacola, Fla., says he didn't do anything to cause his arrest. An Amtrak spokesman
> said the arresting Amtrak police officer said Bourgeois was belligerent and refused to leave.
> Bourgeois denies it.
> Bourgeois says that while walking up the platform, two female Amtrak employees drove by and asked
> him what he was doing and admonished him to "watch out for the Amtrak police."
> "I did not take that warning seriously because I was not doing anything wrong," Bourgeois later
> recounted. "I joked that maybe 'they would beat me up, so I could file a multi-million dollar
> lawsuit.' "
> Bourgeois says he walked a little farther up the platform to take a few photos when he encountered
> another Amtrak employee who asked why he was there. Asking if he could walk farther down the
> platform, he says the employee asked him to wait where he was until someone could accompany him.
> While waiting, Bourgeois says the two female Amtrak employees he spoke with previously had returned
> and the three were chatting when an Amtrak police officer drove up and explained that he was
> "I merely inquired if this was not public property, since Amtrak is a publicly supported entity,"
> said Bourgeois. It was then, he says, the Amtrak policeman told him he was under arrest.
> Handcuffed and driven to the Amtrak police office, Bourgeois says the officer concocted an almost
> completely false account of what had occurred. Running Bourgeois' identification turned up nothing.
> During the ride to the Orleans Parish Prison, the officer, Bourgeois said, pointed to the "No
> Trespassing" sign on the chainlink fence, which he claims was not visible from the passenger
> Booked and processed at the city jail for criminal trespass, Bourgeois says the Amtrak officer
> confiscated his wallet, his digital camera and a pocketknife. He also says the officer erased the
> Amtrak photos he had in his camera and was surprised to find a photo of a pair of Air Force A-10s
> that had flown by. Bourgeois explained that he liked airplanes because he was a pilot.
> The New Orleans police wanted to see his identification, but Bourgeois said the Amtrak officer, who
> had left the premises, had previously confiscated it. Allowed to make three telephone calls, he
> called his brother and sister-in-law who lives in Lake Charles, La. His sister-in-law made calls to
> the people waiting for Bourgeois in Pensacola. A cousin came to the jail to pay his bond. He finally
> left jail at 12:30 a.m. Sunday and recovered his belongings the next day at the terminal.
> "There is no stone I will leave unturned to get justice for this," Bourgeois says. "As I sat in jail
> my most consistent thought, after 'I have to get out of here," was 'I have to make this count for
> something.' This should never happen to anyone, again."
> Amtrak stands by its police officer that Bourgeois was belligerent and refused to leave, thereby
> giving him no choice but to arrest Bourgeois, even though he was just taking photos.
> "We don't arrest people for taking photos," the spokesman said. "We arrest people for trespassing."
> Bourgeois says he does not remember the names of any of the Amtrak personnel he was speaking to at
> the time of his arrest.
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