Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rape Victim Arrested for Refusing Sexual Assault by TSA

A 56-year-old rape survivor with a pacemaker refused a groping by TSA agents at Austin Bergstrom airport, and was subsequently arrested, pushed to the floor, dragged, and banned from flying from the airport.
KVUE in Austin has the horrifying story:
Claire Hirschkind, 56, who says she is a rape victim and who has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, says her constitutional rights were violated. She says she never broke any laws. But the Transportation Security Administration disagrees.
Hirschkind was hoping to spend Christmas with friends in California, but she never made it past the security checkpoint.
“I can’t go through because I have the equivalent of a pacemaker in me,” she said.
Hirschkind said because of the device in her body, she was led to a female TSA employee and three Austin police officers. She says she was told she was going to be patted down.
“I turned to the police officer and said, ‘I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights. You can wand me,’” and they said, ‘No, you have to do this,’” she said.
Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.
“I told them, ‘No, I’m not going to have my breasts felt,’ and she said, ’Yes, you are,’” said Hirschkind.
When Hirschkind refused, she says that ”the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me. I was crying by then. They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security.”
While the TSA’s pornoscanners weren’t involved in this incident, it shows the newfound prevalence of TSA’s aggressive new groping strategy for anyone who doesn’t clear the first round of security checks.
Hirschkind isn’t alone: while sitting in an airport restaurant at LAX on Monday, I spoke with one middle-aged passenger – a conservative woman – spoke about how she also set off a metal detector and had to be groped. She described the experience as “humiliating,” and compared to it how she was sexually assaulted as a foster child. She cried immediately after the groping, saying it was “violating.”

Travelers ‘Feel a Little Safer’ Seeing Rape Victim Dragged Across Airport by Police:

In an example of how quickly many members of the public have become not only comfortable with by comforted by the harsh and seemingly arbitrary treatment received by others at the airport, 56-year-old rape victim Claire Hirschkind was hurled to the ground and dragged across the airport by police yesterday, reassuring others that the TSA was right on top of things.

It makes me feel a little safer,” noted Emily Protine, one of the other travelers who witnessed the arrest, the consequence of Hirschkind not wanting her breasts felt by TSA agents. “It is for our protection so I have no problems with it,” added another witness, one Gwen Washington.

Hirschkind was apparently singled out because she has a pacemaker implanted in her chest, but objected when TSA officials announced they intended to feel her breasts. When she argued there was no due cause “the police actually pushed me to the floor, handcuffed me,” Hirschkind report, prompting the extreme comfort of fellow would-be passengers Washington and Protine.

The TSA insisted that Hirschkind’s arrest and her treatment were perfectly in keeping with their orders, and an airport spokesman added that she had the option to “not fly” if she objected to having her breasts groped. The TSA added that only about 3 percent of travelers are actually subjected to the treatment. The other 97 just get to feel a little safer because they didn’t get singled out

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