85-year-old woman alleges strip-search at JFK airport
Monday, 05 December 2011 08:29 GMT
An 85-year-old grandmother said on Saturday that she was injured and humiliated when she was strip searched at JFK airport after she asked to be patted down instead of going through a body scanner, allegations that transportation security officials denied.
Lenore Zimmerman said she was taken to a private room and made to take off her pants and other clothes after she asked to forgo the screening because she worried it would interfere with her defibrillator. She missed her flight and had to take one two-and-a-half hours later, she said.
"I'm hunched over. I'm in a wheelchair. I weigh under 110 pounds [50kg]," she said from her winter home at a seniors community in Coconut Creek, Florida. "Do I look like a terrorist?"
But the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement on Saturday that no strip search was conducted.
"While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols and one was not conducted in this case," the statement read.
Zimmerman said. "I worry about my heart, so I don't want to go through those things," she said, referring to the screening machines now in place at the airport.
As a result, she said, she was taken into the private screening room by a female agent and made to strip.
Zimmerman, who spends half the year in Long Beach, New York, said she banged her shin during the process and it bled "like a pig", partly because she is on blood-thinning medication.
Her son Bruce said: "My mother is a little old woman. She's not disruptive or uncooperative. I don't understand how this happened."