August 11, 2011
Authorities involved in the arrest of a protester who removed his shirt and pants at a security checkpoint at Richmond International Airport were doing their jobs and acted appropriately, a government attorney argued Wednesday in Richmond federal court.
Carlotta P. Wells, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, argued in favor of a motion to dismiss Aaron B. Tobey’s lawsuit, which claims his constitutional rights were violated. Wells said Tobey had made his point by removing his shirt to display words from the Fourth Amendment written on his torso but went too far when he disobeyed a command to pass through a security scanner.
But Anand Agneshwar, an attorney representing Tobey in his lawsuit against airport and federal officials, said the 21-year-old Charlottesville man obeyed the commands of authorities. Agneshwar said it was the authorities who went too far by detaining Tobey for 90 minutes or longer with his hands cuffed behind his back.
“This was one long process to determine if this gentleman was a security risk,” Agneshwar told U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.