College student Aaron Tobey has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor after he was forced to endure a search and pat-down in the Richmond, VA Airport. When forced to undergo the search, Tobey stripped down to his underwear, and presented the Fourth Amendment written across his bare chest for security, gay blog readers, and travelers alike to see.
When Tobey filed his $250,000 lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the Richmond Airport Authority and several security guards, police dropped the misdemeanor charges against him. He’s still suing.
The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment outlaws “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Tobey, a 21-year-old University of Cincinnati architecture student, had those very words scrawled across his chest and abdomen when he stripped down to his underwear at a Richmond, Va., airport back in December. He was heading to his grandfather’s funeral at the time. Tobey was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct.
“This action seeks vindication of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Aaron Tobey, who … was arrested without probable cause, falsely imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted,” the legal complaint states. The civil lawsuit was filed on Tobey’s behalf by the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group.
“Tobey was unduly seized by government agents in violation of the Fourth Amendment, despite the fact that he did nothing to disrupt airport routine,” John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said in a statement on his group’s website.
As dramatic as his actions are, we’re totally with Tobey on this one. Airport security has become incredibly invasive, but somehow less secure. Full body scanners are a privacy nightmare, and pat-downs do in fact contradict the letter of the law. The TSA has no legal authority, just scare tactics. We applaud him for finding a creative way to get his message across.
What do you think of Tobey’s
rocking body lawsuit?