Tagged with: disability disability rights enhanced pat down punitive TSA wheelchair
Dr. Tammy Banovac uses a metal wheelchair which means she can’t go through the scanners and always gets a pat-down from TSA agents. The Transportation Security Administration has faced a growing outcry over security measures at U.S. airports, with many travelers complaining they are invasive and humiliating. Many people with disabilities, who must endure the enhanced pat-down as well as anyone accompanying them for air travel, feel the groping measures are punitive.
Such is the case with Dr. Banovac who told The Oklahoman that she feels violated because the pat downs have become increasingly invasive during the last few months. “If it happened anywhere else, it would have been sexual assault.” In fact, the 52-year-old surgeon was so angry about the situation that she tried to change things by being more transparent to TSA agents.
She arrived at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City wearing a trench coat. At the check point, she pulled off the coat so she was wearing only black lace lingerie. Her hope was that by basically showing every piece of her body, clearly not hiding anything, TSA agents would not force her to endure yet another invasive pat down.
A video of the incident was filmed by another passenger and posted on YouTube. It showed the dental surgeon in a wheelchair in black underwear as she held her pet lapdog.
A TSA agent told her to go through the metal detector, which Dr. Banovac can’t do in her wheelchair, so the TSA swabbed her hands and allegedly found traces of nitrates. Banovac was then forced to endure a one-hour groping hand search while being interrogated. As a result, she missed her flight.
The next day, Dr. Banovac returned to the airport, stripped down to her lingerie again to make it clear that she was hiding nothing. But she received another enhanced pat-down.
An Oklahoma City Airport spokesman said the TSA acted appropriately and “did everything they should have done.”
By the end of November, the ACLU had received over 900 complaints from U.S. travelers about the enhanced pat-downs.