I’m not a fan of the TSA, and generally don’t give them the benefit of the doubt, given their track record. However, this is a situation I’m a bit skeptical of, to put it mildly. NBC 5 Chicago shares the story of a man who claims that he had such an invasive pat down at Chicago O’Hare that he’s going to need surgery.
In March David Stavropolous was sent through a body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at O’Hare. He had a dollar bill in his pocket (your pockets are supposed to be completely empty when going through the scanner), so the TSA agent had to perform a pat down around his mid-section, since that’s where the machine indicated there was something. Per the story:
But Stavropolous says he was stopped at a security checkpoint at O’Hare, and frisked so hard by a TSA agent that he will need surgery in October.
It was during that patdown, he said, that the agent drove a hand into his groin so hard, twice, that he was immediately hit by waves of pain.
“I turned around and said, you injured me,” he said. “I’d like to talk to your supervisor!”
“I see a urologist once or twice a month,” he said. “I’m still in pain—I still have issues with bleeding.”
There’s a video of the incident, and frankly it doesn’t look any rougher than usual. The pat down near the groin is standard operating procedure for the TSA if the scanner indicates that there’s something in the area.
The passenger is also quoted as saying that he’d refuse to doing a strip search in private, and that he’d do it out in the open. As heroic as that sounds, the TSA doesn’t perform strip searches.
Here’s the news clip, including a video of the passenger getting a pat down (sorry for how it embeds, but if you click on the video you can expand it):
So I’m conflicted here. On one hand I can’t feel what the guy feels, so I don’t want to completely dismiss it. At the same time, from the video I don’t see anything that looks remotely unusual. If he is in fact experiencing horrible pain as a result of this, I imagine there must have been some sort of a pre-existing condition. Usually the TSA agent is supposed to ask if you have any sensitive areas before performing a pat down. To go from an, ahem, “healthy groin area” to bleeding and surgery as a result of this seems… surprising.
What do you make of this incident?