Friday, July 15, 2011

94-year-old upset by TSA pat down: Told to get out of her wheelchair



A 94-year-old wheelchair-bound Florida woman says a search she went through at Raleigh/Durham International Airport went too far.

Marian Peterson said it happened July 6 as she went through a TSA security checkpoint before boarding a flight home.

Peterson said she was selected for extra screening. First, security officers lifted her out of her wheelchair and helped her stand in a full body scanner. Then, she was given a physical pat down.

"They took me to one side and they patted me down, and they made me stand for, with my arms out, for over 10 minutes," she said. "I was beginning to feel that I wasn't going to be able to continue to stand, I was going to fall down or something."

"I asked, I said why are you doing this, and the woman was very polite and said 'I don't know, maybe the scanner detected something or maybe she moved,'" recalled Peterson's daughter Marian Malone.

Peterson's family said it's not just the length of the search they object to, it's the way it was done.

"She said it would be in-depth. She started the putdown, and at that point, she asked mom to spread her legs. She stood there with her legs spread and she checked every place thoroughly," said Malone.

"They groped her. All of her body. Her crotch, her breasts. And everything else," said son Joe Peterson.

The Petersons said the search seemed unnecessary given Marian's obvious age.

"I didn't think I was much of a threat to anybody," said Marian Peterson. (more)