Here we go again…
A mother of a 4 year-old daughter has lodged a formal complaint with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) claiming airport security screeners treated her 4 year-old daughter like a ‘terrorist’ when the little girl inadvertently ran back through the security scanner.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of April 15th at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport (ICT) when according the girl’s mother Michelle Brademeyer, her daughter was given a pat-down by TSA officials when she ran accidentally back through the security scanner to hug her Grandmother:
‘[Brademeyer], her 4-year-old daughter, Isabella, and her 6-year-old son, Oliver, were in the Wichita airport, headed back to Montana after her brother’s wedding at Exploration Place. The children’s maternal grandmother was taking the same flight on her way back to California. The children went through security screening with no problem, but their grandmother set off the alarm. Officers asked the grandmother to sit to the side and wait for a pat-down.
That’s when Isabella saw her grandmother and “excitedly ran over to give her a hug, as children often do,” Brademeyer said. Their contact lasted a few seconds, she said.’
What happened afterward according to Ms Brademeyer was the TSA officers “responded to this very simple action in the worst way imaginable.”
Ms Brademeyer then claims one of the female officers proceeded to berate the child:
‘A female officer started “yelling at my child and demanded she too must sit down and await a full body pat-down.” Her daughter responded by putting her hands over her face and crying.’
The mother says the TSA claimed they suspected a possible weapon was passed from the Grandmother to the little girl.
“I was prevented from coming any closer, explaining the situation to her, or consoling her in any way. … It was implied, several times, that my mother, in their brief two-second embrace, had passed a handgun to my daughter.”
Brademeyer then goes on to say the TSA officers made no attempt to console the girl who was “obviously terrified” by what was going and then threatened Ms Brademeyer:
“[Brademeyer said her daughter] was obviously terrified, had no idea what was going on, and the TSOs involved still made no attempt to explain it to her. When they spoke to her, it was devoid of any sort of compassion, kindness or respect. They told her she had to come to them, alone, and spread her arms and legs. She screamed, ‘No! I don’t want to!’ then did what any frightened young child might, she ran the opposite direction.”
An officer told Brademeyer “they would shut down the entire airport, cancel all flights, if my daughter was not restrained.” She said the officers referred to her daughter as a “security threat.”
“When they found nothing hidden on my daughter, they were forced to let us go,” after closely checking her ID and boarding passes, she said. The TSOs followed her through the airport to the gate.
The TSA issued a response to the allegations:
“In this case … the child had completed screening but had contact with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process. While it was explained to family members why additional security procedures were necessary in this instance, TSA officers did not suspect or suggest the child was carrying a firearm.”
The The TSA went on to say correct procedures were followed:
“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child.”
Last month the TSA swabbed down a little boy in a wheelchair thinking he might have a bomb [I can't make this stuff up!!]
In being fair here we’ve really only heard this mother’s side of the story.
However, how MANY times have we heard this story?? If accurate, it once again underscores the complete mess the TSA is and everyone knows it. Once again, I’ll say that the vast majority of TSA employees are hard working, good people. But in the end the people aren’t the issue, it’s the TSA itself.
Until the TSA is taken private and out of the hands of the federal government, this ineptitude and waste will continue at BEST, and at worst we will have a true terrorist breach and more innocent lives will be lost.
I know those are sobering words but I believe them as do many others and many more who are experts in this field.