Two years ago, a young man named Aaron Tobey decided to protest airport security by writing an abbreviated version of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution on his chest (“unreasonable searches and seizures”) then stripping down at a security checkpoint in where he was promptly arrested.
Tobey sued and has now won the right to take the case to trial.
Stripping at Security in Richmond
The incident took place Dec. 30, 2010, at Virginia’s Richmond International Airport where the 21-year-old Tobey, then a student at the University of Cincinnati, was to board a plane for a grandparent’s funeral in Wisconsin. According to the lawsuit filed the following March, Tobey was directed to a body scanning machine, but before entering, he removed all his clothing except for a pair of gym shorts. When told stripping was not necessary, Tobey responded that “he wished to do so to express his view that enhanced screening procedures were unconstitutional.”
He was taken away in handcuffs and detained for about 90 minutes (but despite the delay, he still managed to make his Wisconsin flight).
Man Seeks $250K in Damages
His lawsuit, which names the Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, TSA chief John Pistole and others, seeks $250,000 in damages. A U.S. Court of appeals judge reversed the decision of a lower court and is allowing the suit to go to trial, but apparently no date has yet been set.
FareCompare has so far been unable to contact Tobey though there is a Facebook page called Aaron Tobey Naked Protest which is active, and so far, Tobey’s attorney of record has not responded to an email request for comment.
Interesting sidelight: Among the lawyers listed on the original lawsuit as being of counsel are attorneys with the Rutherford Institute – which some will recall for its representation of Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.