Carol, a former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener, arrives at the airport security checkpoint in Ft. Myers, where she’s on her way to a funeral Cleveland. She is chosen for additional screening. A screener collects her belongings and leads her a few feet away to conduct the pat-down. It’s a familiar face–a former co-worker. They embrace, but that doesn’t mean she gets off without a pat-down.
The pat-down occurs and Carol suddenly becomes angry. The search is invasive and she feels she has been unreasonably groped, calling her former colleague out for not following protocol. The two former friends began bickering and a supervisor is requested.
A supervisor arrives and Carol explains why she is angry, demonstrating what had happened by physically showing the supervisor the type of pat-down she just endured. The supervisor is shocked. Carol is arrested and charged with battery. She misses her funeral.
The TSA releases a statement saying that:
[V]iolence against our officers who work every day to keep the traveling public safe is unacceptable.
I will not defend Carol. I will go so far as to say she is guilty of battery. But what does that say about TSA pat-downs?
If Carol is guilty of battery, is not every TSO who conducts an invasive pat-down search guilty of battery? Technically, no–because under current law the TSO is allowed to batter passengers without probable cause (battery is simply defined as unlawful physical contact).
But doesn’t that raise the following very simple questions: why do we allow the TSA to get away with what would be labeled battery just because they are wearing a shiny badge and a blue uniform? Why do we allow the TSA to get away with what they themselves label as “violence”?
The TSA’s new mantra: do as I say, not as I do.
Check out the video yourself here.