Full Length Video of TSA Encounter for Wearing Offensive Shirt

Published On January 15, 2013 | By CopBlock | Articles

For wearing a shirt offensive to TSA (which is my right), I was harassed, detained, assaulted, and threatened by TSA for no reason other than the fact that the TSA agent in question found my shirt (pic below) personally offensive.

It’s not the best quality and it’s long, so instead of watching the whole thing I recommend looking through the transcript below and skipping to any part you find interesting.

You may not agree with my method or the content of the shirt, that’s fine. The only reason I wore it was to make myself feel a little less uncomfortable about having my fourth amendment rights walked over every time I go through security, and I certainly succeeded in that goal. Following the incident, I had multiple people (including the person sitting across the aisle from me on the airplane) congratulate me for my efforts and tell me that they were proud that someone is speaking out.

I have submitted the following to TSA as a civil rights complaint. I’ve contacted the ACLU but I’m not sure if I should send this to anyone else, such as news stations.

This action is, as you might expect, protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as upheld in the Supreme Court case Cohen v. California. I was quiet and compliant with the entire screening process.

TSA agent Raymond D. Evans (briefly violently) confronted me, and committed the following actions, and by his own admission only because he found my shirt personally offensive:

Suppression of my first amendment right to freedom of expression (18 USC § 242 Deprivation of rights under color of law, RCW 9A.80.010 Official misconduct) – Entire incident
Suppression of my first amendment right to freedom of the press (18 USC § 242 Deprivation of rights under color of law, RCW 9A.80.010 Official misconduct) – Multiple times when my camera is blocked, both by Raymond Evans and TSA agent 2 (see below) – See Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 9th circuit, 1995 which protects my right to record government officials in public Illegal detention (RCW 9A.40.040 Unlawful imprisonment) Assault (RCW 9A.36.041) – [4:18] in the video

Lied to the Port of Seattle Police dispatcher (RCW 9A.76.175 Making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.) – Raymond Evans told the Port of Seattle Police dispatcher that I was “harassing the public,” a statement directly contradicted by video evidence
Harassment (RCW 9A.46.020) – Entire incident
Threatened to arrest me (RCW 9A.60.045 Impersonation of a law enforcement officer) – [7:49] and [8:11] in the video
Repeatedly insulted me (Fortunately for Raymond Evans, not a crime, but still unbecoming a federal employee)

Before entering the security checkpoint, I was wearing a sweatshirt over my yellow t-shirt. I removed my sweatshirt and put it in my suitcase about 30 seconds before the video starts, right before I entered the line to the screening area.

TSA

[0:00] I entered the security line wearing my shirt, started filming.
[1:47] My boarding pass and ID (passport) are checked by the TSA agent before the screening area, she is polite.
[2:21] I’m asked if the back of my shirt is the same as the front, I reply that it is. I don’t remember who asked and from the video it’s not clear.
Between [2:21] and [4:13], I quietly try to make my way to one of the screening lines. I am doing nothing but waiting in line and holding up my phone (recording).
[4:13] TSA agent that confronted me appears
[4:17] TSA agent tells me that my shirt is “offensive” and that I should take it off.
[4:18] I decline, “No, I’m not required to.”
[4:18] TSA agent makes a lunge for my camera.
[4:26] TSA agent tells me I “don’t have a right to take pictures.”
[4:28] TSA agent tells me I don’t have the right to wear an offensive shirt “like that”
[4:31] I remind the TSA agent that my right to do so is protected under the first amendment
[4:37] I request that the TSA agent call a law enforcement official
[4:39] TSA agent responds that they’re “working on that”
[4:45] TSA agent “It’s our right to protect [unintelligible] and we find you offensive.”
[4:50] I’m OK with him having his own opinion
[4:55] TSA agent asks if I’m wearing another shirt underneath. I reply that I’m not taking my shirt off.
[5:00] TSA agent says he’s going to call the Port of Seattle [Police].
[5:03] TSA agent tells me to turn my camera off. I decline. I reiterate that I have the legal right to record, and that I have a copy of TSA recording policy in my pocket.
[5:23] TSA agent 2 is now visible.
[5:22] TSA agent is speaking into his radio, requests that “Eric” call the Port of Seattle Police, and ask them to come down to the “south checkpoint” (checkpoint 2) Transcription follows:
“I have a passenger in the line here with very offensive language on his shirt, also taking photographs and uh, basically just being uh, harassing the rest of the public here.
[…]
Yeah, it’s uh, 4 or 5, 5 6, … and uh, his shirt is uh, graphic uh, uhh, language and uh, personally I find it offensive and so does everybody else in this area and so I want to bring in bring in uh, bring in the police officers so they can straighten him out.
[…]
Uh, no he’s just uh, being a, uh, he’s actually even recording and photographing everything as he comes through line and his t-shirt says first amendment uh, F-K TSA security theater, uh, Cohen v. California, whatever versus California.
[Other voice on radio unintelligible]
Uh, he’s uh, somewhat. Yeah, Kindall here is aware of it, he’s actually watching but I took it upon myself to intercept this guy because of his uh, his shirt and the language. OK, ‘preciate. Thank you. OK, thank you.
[7:23] [Radio done] TSA agent says “OK I’m just going to stay with you until they arrive.” I agree and comply.
[7:28] TSA agent wonders if he should move me through the line to the secure area.
[7:48] TSA agent explains that the quicker he moves me through the security line, the quicker he can arrest me
[7:49] TSA agent threatens to arrest me, thereby impersonating a law enforcement officer (a crime):
Me: You are not a law enforcement officer, sir, you personally cannot arrest me.”
Him: Oh, but I am a federal officer and I do have enough authority in here-
Me: You do not have the authority to arrest me.
Me: I know the law.
Him: (sarcastically) Oh, are you a lawyer?
Me: I am not a lawyer but I know my rights.
Him: (sarcastically) Oh.
[8:11] TSA agent says “If you try to take photographs of anything or of our equipment or any imagers or whatever, then I will stop you.” I reply, “Well, you don’t have the legal authority to do that.”
[8:32] TSA agent confirms that the back of my shirt is the same as the front.
[8:40] TSA agent decides to move me through the security line.
[9:00] TSA agent is indecisive about moving me through the line so I politely wait.
[9:28] TSA agent leaves, leaves me with TSA agent 2
[9:47] TSA agent 2 starts blocking my camera with his hand I try to explain that he legally cannot do that, to no avail
[9:57] TSA agent 2 is visible
[10:37] TSA agent 3 appears (camera is too low to see his face), but this agent is merely curious to know my name and is not confrontational. I politely decline to identify myself, and he is understanding and leaves me alone.
[12:24] I’m still detained, waiting for the Port of Seattle police to arrive, TSA agent 2’s face is briefly visible in the video
[13:32] I say “There they are” to the camera, meaning I can see the Port of Seattle police approaching the security checkpoint (not visible in the video yet)
[13:39] I’m greeted by the Port of Seattle Police
[13:44] Port of Seattle police officer speaks to me and is visible in the video
[13:58] Officer sees that I am recording, and asks if I am going to post the video to the internet. I explain that the video is streaming live to the internet and that I cannot delete the video from my phone.
[14:16] I state my intention to fully comply with the TSA screening process. The officer asks that I state to the camera that I will comply with the TSA screening process, I do so.
[14:47] The officer asks that I stop recording.
[14:49] I decline to the officer.
[14:58] The officer states he does not know TSA procedure on filming.
[15:00] I state that I have TSA recording policy in my pocket.
[15:14] I hand the printout of TSA policy to TSA agent, which he reads.
[15:34] TSA agent claims that “my purpose is disruptive.”
[15:36] I disagree.
[15:38] TSA agent berates me and expresses his distaste for the content of my shirt. He’s permitted to his opinion.
[15:56] TSA agent tells me that he will make sure that I take off my shirt before I go into the checkpoint. I remind him that that’s where he starts violating my rights.
[16:00] Port of Seattle police is seen in the background photographing/filming me. This is their right and I do not mind.
[16:04] I give TSA agent a quick lesson on the first amendment.
[16:16] TSA agent claims I am causing a disturbance by “just being here.”
[16:19] I point out that the “disturbance” only started when TSA agent initially confronted me. During this time TSA agent requests my boarding pass. I comply.
[16:47] TSA agent says “We’ll let the airline handle it” after determining that I am flying Delta.
[16:56] I inform to the TSA agent that I never intended to wear my shirt on the aircraft (which is true, airlines are private companies and I did not intend to wear a potentially offensive shirt on board)
[17:06] I explain that there is a difference between the checkpoint being public property and the airplanes (owned by the airlines) being private property.
[17:12] TSA agent calls me a smartass.
[17:30] I’m still detained before the security checkpoint. 4 Port of Seattle police officers are conferring near the initial security line.
[18:07] TSA agent claims he has the right to block my camera and starts doing so
[18:12] I cite Fordyce v City of Seattle, (9th circuit, 1995) and am ignored
[18:45] I state TSA agent’s name to the camera, “Raymond D Evans” (which is what was displayed on his badge, but not legible in the video)
[18:55] TSA agent asks to see my driver’s license. I remind the TSA agent that I have already given him my ID and I will not provide him a second form of identification. TSA agent asks a second time, I still decline.
[19:35] TSA agent asks if he can touch my bags so as to move them through the screening area. I say that I would prefer to escort my belongings myself if possible. TSA agent agrees.
[19:46] Speaking to someone off-camera, TSA agent refers to me as “ignorant person.”
[19:50] I am finally permitted to begin the screening process, after being illegally detained for over 15 minutes.
[20:16] TSA agent requests that I take off my shirt again. I decline.
[20:19] I put my phone in the bin to be screened, camera facing up.

While my phone is in the bin and my belongings are screened, off-camera I am led through the metal detector with no incident.

[23:21] The bin containing my phone exits the x-ray machine
[23:43] I am seen retrieving my belongings, and the video captures a view of the shirt I am wearing along with my face
[25:56] I retrieve my phone from the bin
[26:06] A man off-camera tries to tell me that I “cannot record here,” and that I “can go to jail for that.” I reply “There’s no law against it.” Off-camera the man looks frustrated but leaves me alone. Again, not visible in the video, but the man is wearing a suit and I assume he is an airport official.
[26:33] My camera is blocked by someone. I am heard asking if the person is with the airline, with no response. I do not recall but I believe this is the same person as in [26:06].
[27:15] My camera is unblocked. TSA agent is seen speaking to a woman who works for Delta.
[27:31] TSA agent asks which state I’m a resident of. I reply Washington state.
[28:17] Employees of Delta start to talk to me. It’s hard for me to tell what they’re saying in the video. My camera is pointed down.
[28:22] I explain to the Delta employees that I did not intend to wear my shirt onto the aircraft, as I understand it’s private property, and I agree to take off my shirt for them at the checkpoint.
[28:43] I tell the Delta employees that I will not put my shirt on after I take it off, and they won’t see it on the aircraft.
[29:03] Delta employees request that I stop recording. I comply. The video ends.

Immediately after I turned off my camera, I was approached by a man who identified himself as a federal air marshal (with photo identification). He demanded to see my passport, which I gave him. He took a photo of the identification page of my passport, and then took a photo of myself using his cell phone. Then he refused to answer any questions and walked away. (Sidenote: I have submitted a FOIA request for these photos and any other files TSA has on me.)

At this point, the Delta employees requested I remove my shirt. I complied. After this, I was confronted by another angry Delta employee (who walked up after I took the shirt off, so she didn’t see it) who told me that “there was only about a 50% chance” I would be able to board my flight, that she was “making a full report to the Captain,” and that I could go to my gate but I “would be watched.” Ultimately I boarded my flight with no issues, but considering that Raymond Evans made it his sole personal mission to prevent me from flying by any means necessary, it’s likely he lied to the Delta employees regarding my compliance at the security checkpoint to try to prevent me from flying.

This post was sent to us via an anonymous source using CopBlock.org’s submission tab.

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  • alex louis armstrong

    the tsa is a money pit anyways we would better off if we didnt have the child molesting pricks at our airports BTw where can i get that shirt at??

  • Common Sense

    Wow, its like Martin Luther King, impressive…

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  • Jim

    Well done.

  • t.

    You wanted attention….you got it.

  • shawn

    @Common

    It is impressive. TSA is out of control and tramples personal dignity. And they’ve yet to stop an attack as far as i’ve heard. In a couple incidents, like the underwear bomber, it was the passengers who stopped the attack. TSA failed.

    And TSA searches are now cropping up in normal life. Ahighschool prom required this search. When has a prom been bombed?

    TSA is good for nothing but conditioning people to submit to power

  • BluEyeDevil

    Hey common check this one out, you should be so proud……..
    Ya buddy, I can cut and paste too…….

    City to pay $22.5 million to bipolar woman released in high-crime area
    CHICAGO SUN TIMES

    Chicago taxpayers will spend $22.5 million to compensate a mentally-ill California woman who was arrested and held overnight, then released in a high-crime neighborhood, where she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted before falling from a seventh-floor window of a CHA high-rise.

    The settlement to Christina Eilman, now 27, is one of the largest to a single plaintiff in Chicago history — and $4.5 million more than the $18 million paid to the family of LaTanya Haggerty, one of two unarmed civilians shot to death by Chicago Police in 1999 after high-speed chases during the same summer weekend.

  • Common Sense

    From a budget of +8 billion, its a speeding ticket, the price of doing business, pay it, and move on.

    “…But it’s not actually that much compared to recent years in Chicago, which pays out an unusual amount compared to its civic peers, as Mick Dumke found in a 2008 report for the Reader.
    If you count other departments, $33 million is in the ballpark:Scores of suits have been filed against other city departments, and through just the first six months of [2008] Chicago was already on the hook for some $80 million in settlements and court judgments.
    That’s far more than in any recent year in Chicago—up from about $34 million in 2005. And it doesn’t even include the $12 million spent to settle hundreds of suits related to the Shakman consent decrees, a series of federal court orders banning patronage hiring and firing, or the $11 million it took to settle a dispute with Millennium Park contractors—both paid in 2008 after years of litigation. That’s a total of more than $100 million to close lawsuits from January through June.
    But it’s still not the majority of it: “Lawsuits involving the police account for about 44 percent of Chicago’s settlements and judgments. In New York and LA they account for only about a quarter. And the amount Chicago is spending to close police-related lawsuits is increasing—from about $23 million for all of 2005 to more than $62 million for the first half of 2008.”
    And the raw numbers for all settlements are just staggering: more money, from 2005-2008, than Los Angeles (three times as much), more than Houston (about seventeen times as much)…”

  • YankeeFan

    BED,

    I just acquianted myself with that Haggerty shooting and I must say I am going to die of not surprise. Cops escalating a routine treaffic stop to such violent levels that the citizen feels afraid of the police who should not behave that way then they kill 2 innocent peoples and weave a web of lies. Not the police, no way. Say it isn’t so!!

  • simpleton

    where’s the video?

  • Dan Sayers

    I think we do more damage to our young pretending that certain words are cursed than we do subjecting them to such words.

    The TSA is in a race with the ATF to see who can achieve status as the most un-American American institution. We were cautioned against giving up liberty for the illusion of safety hundreds of years ago. Besides, the moment you start treating every American like a criminal, the terrorists win.

  • rick
  • reason

    TSA aren’t cops, that should be stressed in their training which I’m sure is minimal to begin with.

  • thinkfreeer

    The TSA agents would have been wise to just ignore the shirt and process him normally. It would have been a non-event. So, you could say they took the bait.

  • mobooz

    @t: “You wanted attention….you got it.”

    That’s the same line of reasoning that results in blaming rape victims for the way they dress.

  • benny

    good job to anyone working to help copblock! lol this police state!

  • Aaron

    Check this site for further TSA nuggets: https://takingsenseaway.wordpress.com

  • t.

    Mobooz: Really!?! Dude walks up to an airport security checkpoint with a shirt that says fuck the TSA and YOU really think he didn’t want the attention he got?? Are you stupid or just retarded? @freeer actually got this one right. TSA took the bait. But you don’t like TSA, don’t fly. Drive…no wait, DUI checkpoints. So walk….no…police violating your rights to open carry. So stay home….no, that doesn’t work either….to many snitches giving the police bad Intel for search warrants. Damn, guess your just screwed.

  • Dan

    “But you don’t like TSA, don’t fly” Nuff said

  • Kaz

    The airlines should provide security for their own companies, period. As it is now people do not like the way our government is trampling our rights. If the airlines controlled their own security, or lack there of, then we could chose which airline we want to take. Right now we are being forced to pay for a service that most of us would choose to do without.

  • t.

    Kaz: So would you accept Delta searching you like TSA does or even more? A private contract where you agree to allow the airline to feel you up?

  • Gordon Freeman

    I wonder if you ran for office on the sole campaign point of getting rid of the TSA if you’d win.

  • Mr. Happy

    You can reach Raymond at his personal FB page of: https://www.facebook.com/raymond.evans.7161
    (You can see he lists the TSA as his job and there’s even a picture so it IS his page beyond any doubt.) Of course everyone should be “respectful” when contacting this person…

  • Mandy

    You are an idiot and an instigator! You have done and proved absolutely nothing except for waste time you will never get back. Shame on you. You are what is wrong with America and this is why the world looks down on Americans. Those people are doing their jobs, they didn’t create the rules and regulations of the airport. If you have a real issue with their protocol perhaps you can be an adult and take it up with the source of your issue. That whole video and your entire attitude is just pitiful.

  • Gordon Freeman

    @Mandy. Except he wasn’t ‘doing his job’ nor was he following ‘rules and regulations’ he was acting like a tin horn dictator. You’d think someone so ‘American’ would get that.

  • max

    who cares if anyone looks down on us? haters gonna hate.

  • MoDare

    The TSA are fascist pigs in the new fascist ‘Murka.

  • Tommy D

    You’re in the right brother. Fuck the TSA. They harass people and see very rude. The people that are hired are just regular everyday idiots that can’t even use a turn signal in their car. They are just like the idiots that are hired at the DMV. Fuck them they can all eat shit and die. Fucking losers.