Woman put on probation for standing up to security theater procedures
Oct 24, 2012
A woman who stood up to TSA screeners and refused to allow them to grope her or her 14 year old daughter has been found guilty of “disorderly conduct” and sentenced to one year of probation by a court in Tennessee.
Back in July 2011, Andrea Fornella Abbott of Clarksville, was arrested by Nashville airport authorities for expressing outrage at the TSA procedures.
A police report stated that Abbott would not allow her daughter to be “touched inappropriately” or have her “crotch grabbed”. Abbott also refused to submit to a full body scan, saying that she did not want her or her daughters’ naked bodies revealed by the scanner.
The report noted that she attempted to take cell phone video of the incident but was prevented from doing so by the TSA screeners.
When police were called to the scene, Abbott reportedly cursed at them and referred to the TSA screeners as pedophiles, leading to her arrest.
The Associated Press reports that the prosecution argued that Abbott’s behavior “prevented others from carrying out their lawful activities,” and held up two security lines for thirty minutes.
“You can speak your mind, but you can’t do it in an illegal manner,’ said Assistant District Attorney Megan King, adding “What the defendant did was a crime.”
The defense argued that Abbot was exercising her right to free speech. “Telling a police officer your opinion, even in strong language, to me that’s a First Amendment right,” Abbot’s attorney Brent Horst told reporters.
Abbott herself admitted that she may have cursed at police officers, but considered the exchange to be a “normal conversation” regarding the inappropriate nature of pat-downs on children.
Horst presented surveillance video of the incident, and claimed that Abbot was the one being yelled at by police. Although the video had no audio, it showed that other passengers were walking around Abbot and the police officers, and that security lines were still moving.
“It’s clear from the video … she wasn’t preventing anything,” Horst said. In closing arguments the attorney stated “Since 9/11, we’re losing a lot of freedom, and we have to draw the line somewhere,” before praising Abbot for standing on principle.
As we have documented, people who opt out of body scanners or those who simply fail to display the proper level of obedience to TSA screeners are routinely subjected to punishment by means of invasive grope downs or other forms of retaliation.
Journalists who are critical of the TSA have also been singled out for retribution.
The TSA is also operating bizarre obedience training programs, including the ridiculous “all stop” policy where travelers are ordered to freeze on the spot for no reason whatsoever. Again, the TSA has admitted that travelers are not mandated to comply with these bizarre displays of security theater.
The TSA has characterized people who do not fully comply with airport screening procedures, no matter how bizarre or invasive, as “domestic extremists.”
The verdict in Andrea Fornella Abbott’s case sets a dangerous precedent along the lines of First amendment rights not being applicable at security checkpoints. The verdict essentially paves the way for criminally punishing anyone who questions TSA procedures, no matter how bizarre they are.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.