85-year-old strip searched at US airport
Lenore Zimmerman says she was furious after officials forced her to strip when she requested to avoid the metal detector so that her defibrillator stayed unaffectedLenore Zimmerman says she was furious after officials forced her to strip when she requested to avoid the metal detector so that her defibrillator stayed unaffected
An 84-year-old Long Island grandmother says she was injured and humiliated during a strip search at Kennedy Airport.
Lenore Zimmerman says she was on her way to a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when security workers forced her to strip down to her underwear when she requested to avoid the metal detector to make sure that her defibrillator would not be affected.
How could they? Lenore Zimmerman claims that the officials remained
unsympathetic during the search and also banged her shin making it bleed
"I walk with a walker I really look like a terrorist," she said sarcastically.
"I'm tiny. I weigh 110 pounds -- 107 without clothes -- and I was strip-searched," she continued.
Zimmerman was dropped off at the JetBlue terminal Tuesday by her son as she was due to take a flight down to Coconut Creek, where she lives in the winter.
Rather than being patted down by a female Transportation Security Administration officials as she normally is, Zimmerman was escorted to a private room where two female officers started removing her clothes.
On top of that, as Zimmerman removed her metal walker, it banged her shin and she started bleeding.
"My sock was soaked with blood. I was bleeding like a pig," she said.
Zimmerman takes blood thinners, explaining why the cut bled so profusely, and she had to be treated by a medic.
That process took so long that she ended up missing her original flight and had to take a later one.
During the search, the officials were unsympathetic and showed no emotion to the confused grandmother.
She asked them, "Why are you doing this?" and they did not respond.
'As per procedure'
TSA spokesman Lisa Farbstein said that a review of closed-circuit television footage from the airport shows proper procedures were followed.
"Our screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect, and courtesy," Farbstein said.
That certainly was not Zimmerman's view of the screening, and she said that she intends to sue the TSA.
"I was outraged," Zimmerman said.