4th Circuit considering TSA claim for immunity to strike airline passengers
Just prior to Thanksgiving as the upcoming "busiest travel day of the year," this case appears on-track to set national precedent as to whether TSA screeners (already determined by the federal district court in Alexandria to be individually liable for gratuitous use of excessive force against passengers) will instead be granted immunity and overturn existing legal precedent, or if TSA screeners will be nationally held to be personally liable and need to purchase the insurance their union contract offers to them for liability coverage in case of claims for assaults on passengers.
The TSA screener, Michael Gerard Polson of Odenton, Maryland, was arrested by the passenger at Dulles airport in March 2016 under a federally court-recognized valid citizen's arrest for felony sexual battery after Michael Polson admitted to ordering a passenger to spread his legs wider than the TSA floormat footprints, and then gratuitously karate-chopping the passenger's testicles with alleged excessive force. Despite Polson and TSA testifying and admitting to gratuitously striking the off-duty airline pilot's genitals without cause, the federal district court found in favor of granting the TSA employee qualified immunity. TSA further seeks to extend its immunity nationally, along with federal courts overturning 49 CFR 114(r), which has previously prohibited TSA from hiding evidence as Sensitive Security Information (SSI) to avoid lawsuits or embarrassment, but which the TSA demands to no longer be so limited in passenger lawsuits and for the statute to be unilaterally removed by the courts.
Civil Rights Defense Network, advocating for the traveling public, believes that this is a gross and improper expansion of government overreach and violation of the 4th Amendment, and believes the American public will not tolerate this clear incursion into airline passengers' rights and fundamental civil liberties.
Amazingly, TSA and the screener both admitted and produced documents ( https://bit.ly/
If the appeal wins, it will establish national precedent for screener accountability, and individual capacity Bivens lawsuits against unreasonable use of excessive force, likely requiring TSA screeners to have insurance (already available to them as part of their TSA union contract). If not, it will be permanent open season on passengers, with nationwide TSA immunity from lawsuits, even in the case of gratuitous and completely unnecessary force.
The attacked passenger behind this case is also seeking help with legal expenses under the handle MeTooByTSA on GoFundMe, and encourages people to use the hashtag #MeTooByTSA to call attention to TSA's admitted (and taxpayer funded) culture of abuse.
Page Updated Last on: Nov 16, 2018