TSA roughs up woman, faces $10 million excessive force lawsuit

Watching the video of Robin Kassner being arrested while her bag is getting checked at the Reagan International Airport certainly gives one the impression that being arrested is not relaxing.

The incident happened in February 2007. She’s tussled up a bit by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. That part is clear.

What isn’t clear is exactly what happened.

According to this news story from Kare 11 that includes the video, Kassner is suing because she believes she was wronged, although the charge of disorderly conduct has been dropped. The charge that she was obstructing justice still stands.

Kassner claims she was being cooperative when officer Michael Urbina reached over and grabbed her to throw her into a chair. Does he have some sort of tick then? After the chair, she was pushed over the TSA counter, face down and then onto the floor.

From the video footage, before Urbina grabbed her, it looks like she’s pretty close to the screener and talking–not particularly animated, but too close.

TSA says that the video doesn’t tell all and that Kassner was not minding. She was getting in the way. Kassner says that she was roughed up for no fault of her own, thought she would die, and was put in jail to think about why she wasn’t on board the flight that she would have been on if she had behaved herself. Jail time is like being sent to the principal’s office in this case.

Check out the video of the incident below. What do you think happened?

Regardless of who is telling the truth, for folks who are quick to get mad, the TSA screening area isn’t the place to let emotions get the best of you. Easier said than done, but important to keep in mind before you ever slip off your shoes.

I don’t get mad easily, but last summer, I found myself halfway arguing over a small, still in its package wine kit that I didn’t know had been left my husband’s carry on. I didn’t even know that there could be a knife attached to the corkscrew. As irate as I was about the situation, the TSA person felt sympathetic, tried to help me find a solution, and I let it go. I was surprised my emotions were triggered.

As ridiculous as the TSA rules may seem at times, or how much you love the items you’ve been told to leave behind, or where you’ve been told to stand, there’s really no point in arguing. The person in uniform hasn’t made the rules, but they have a job that can’t be all that much fun. Keep your distance, keep your mouth shut, and it will be over. You’ll at least be on a plane.

Unfortunately, keeping calm when traveling isn’t easy when the trip has snafus, and I know several people who, when grabbed, will fight back. Fight or flight. It’s an instinct that can cost you.

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