11th Circut Court of Appeals say the TSA cannot be sued or held criminally liable for crimes and false arrest and maybe even death.
On August 27, 2011, Jonathan Corbett went to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (the “airport”) operated by defendant Broward County, Florida.
Corbett refused to permit the TSA screener to conduct the standard pat-down and further stated the TSA screener could “not touch his genitals or buttocks” during the pat-down.
The TSA screener told Corbett that his refusal to consent to the standard pat-down screening was “a problem” and summoned a supervisor. Then police were called and Corbett was threatened with arrest and prevented from flying and told to leave the airport under duress.
Later Corbett filed for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for videos of the gate at the airport and has been refused any of the evidence to use in his lawsuit. The TSA has been tight-lipped stating national security interests and refusal to cooperate with the FOIA requests.
Corbett, who has now filed multiple lawsuits against the TSA for assault and invasion of privacy abuse has just learned that the court has decided in favor of the TSA.
The Court of Appeals finds the TSA is a quasi-governmental organization that has no regulation to prevent even murder by local TSA agents under the color of law.
“We need not resolve this thorny “search” issue. The TSA screeners are not subject to the law enforcement proviso for a
simpler reason — they are not “officers of the United States Government,” as required by §2680(h)’s statutory language. The FTCA draws a distinction between a “federal employee” and an “officer of the United States.” Specifically, the FTCA waives the government’s sovereign immunity for tort claims based on the
acts or omissions of “any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment.” 28 U.S.C. §
1346(b)(1) (emphasis added). Likewise, §2680, the statute providing exceptions to the FTCA’s sovereign immunity waiver, refers to “an act or omission of an employee of the Government.” Id. §2680(a) (emphasis added). The law enforcement proviso
in §2680(h), however, uses the term “officer of the United States,” rather than “employee,” as is used elsewhere in the FTCA. Id.§268
0(h). This variation in language is not insignificant and shows that the law enforcement proviso applies only when the person, whose conduct is at issue, is an officer of the United States.”
The court blames Corbett by suggesting that the gate rape was Corbett’s fault for not submitting to a pat down and raising vocal objection to the procedures enacted by the airport after he stated that he didn’t want to be groped. Also it provides a clause that states the TSA are not held liable in the event of a fatality while on duty nor would a lawsuit spawn from such abuse or crimes.
This is what else the ruling on appeal allows:
1.)Read through your personal documents at checkpoints
2.)Threaten travelers with false arrest and forcible search
3.)Conduct retaliatory searches that last for up to an hour
4.)Refuse to identify its screeners at checkpoints
5.)Lie about the existence of checkpoint videos in response to a FOIA request
And maybe even get away with murder now officially in the course of their duties…
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