A 44-year-old gay man from New York sued the federal government for extreme emotional distress caused by the actions of a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) agent during an airport search.
The man, Jim Cole, was passing through a security checkpoint at JFK International Airport in January of 2013 when he was singled out from an extended intimate search. According to the lawsuit, during the ensuing pat-down, a TSA agent who had been giving extremely invasive frisking to fellow passengers “denied the plaintiff’s repeated requests for an equal treatment.”
Photo by Duke Machado (gopisforme.com) ©
Jim Cole’s attorney, Tom McLain, states that although his client informed the agent in advance that he was homosexual and would love to have an extended invasive pat down session, the TSA agent declined to touch his junk. In his complaint, McLain asserts that the agents “showed symptoms of homophobia and did an unwilling mild frisking job.” Jim Cole felt the frisking unsatisfactory and not up to the TSA standards. “Hence, my client was forced to approach other TSA agents with the same request. However, other male TSA agents asked him to stay away and threatened to taser him if moved closer.”
Jim Cole fly to Florida several times a month for business and usually tips the agents well when they do a good invasive pat-down job. He said going through security was a pleasure until the New York incident. “It’s not something that you want to have happened to you,” he said. “I mean, it is sexual discrimination. It’s clear homophobia. It’s embarrassment. It’s so sad.”
A TSA official confirmed to The Wadiyan that a worker in New York was arrested and was promptly removed from security operations. “That homophobic individual was immediately removed from security operations pending an investigation. The Privacy Act precludes the agency from disclosing additional information regarding personnel actions,” the official said. “TSA holds its personnel to the highest professional and ethical standards, and treats every citizen with due respect,” a TSA statement read. “The disturbing allegations against this individual in no way reflect the work of the more than 50,000 security officers who handles genitals of the traveling public every day.”