ANDERSON, IN (WISH) – An Indiana woman said she’s “appalled” after TSA workers patted down her 96-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother.
Jeanne Clarkson said she was with her fiance and her mother, Evelyn Lebrier, last month at the Washington Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. The group was returning to Indiana after a trip visiting family.
Clarkson’s cellphone video shows a TSA worker ask Lebrier to remove her jacket. She then starts by feeling Lebrier’s head. Clarkson said no one explained why, but the security check continued down to Lebrier’s shoulders, chest, back, inner thighs, legs and ankles.
“She has extreme arthritis in her left knee and they were running their hands up and down and groping it,” Clarkson said. “She was in pain when they were doing it. And she says, ‘I don’t wanna fly again.'”
The video has racked up more than 9 million views online. It shows the worker patting Lebrier down for about five minutes.
Clarkson said she was also in a wheelchair but she stood up for a short screening. She said she reached out to TSA for an explanation but she has not heard back.
“Nothing. I just want them to say, ‘Yeah, we went a little bit too far,'” Clarkson said.
TSA responded to our email with the following statement:
“TSA is committed to ensuring the security of travelers, while treating all passengers with dignity and respect. In this instance, the TSA officer provided advisements during the pat-down and was extremely polite. The passenger was very cooperative and gave no indication that she was agitated or in discomfort. She received a pat-down and was cleared for her flight.”
Clarkson said her mom cannot meet us for an interview because she gets upset talking about the incident.
“I might have mentioned something to my fiance, maybe in the same room, something about it,” Clarkson said. “She would just say, ‘I don’t know why they did that to me.'”
Clarkson said her fiance was also in a wheelchair. She said he was able to stand get through security quickly.
She said the TSA at the Indianapolis International Airport patted her mom down and it took less than one minute. Her mom stayed in the wheelchair throughout the security process at Indy, she said.
The Dulles staff said in a Facebook post that the airport’s team is forwarding complaints to TSA.