Fourth Amendment Flasher Wins Over TSA in Victory For Civil Rights

Aaron Tobey (aka the Fourth Amendment Flasher) who was unlawfully detained for stripping to his undergarments during TSA security procedures in 2010, has won his battle for infringements on his civil liberties through a court settlement.

Tobey bypassed his option for a full-body scanner and opted for a pat-down where he unclothed himself and revealed the Fourth Amendment quote "The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated." He was questioned for 90 minutes on his knowledge of or participation in terrorist activities that might have influenced this behavior, and was arrested by Richmond, Virginia police, who charged him with a misdemeanor.

Sporadic as they are, individuals such as Tobey who appropriately exercise their Constitutional rights are important in keeping under-trained and over-reactive government officials in check of their authority. In this case, Tobey applied his right to silently dissent on the TSA's search methods through the scrawling on his chest but it startled enough of the men-in-blue to land him in an unlawful interrogation.

While the TSA is charged with keeping passengers safe (and I believe in its right to do so), Tobey, who was almost naked, demonstrated no aggression and posed no visible threat to TSA officers or passengers.

What then is the real reason for Tobey's detention? The answer rests in a collective paranoia and ignorance that results in over-reaction. As such, the agreement for additional training of these officers at Richmond Airport serves a more meaningful purpose for government agents and civilians alike. Better education, better training and greater awareness of our civilian rights might just make for a more cooperative, respectful, and constitutional system altogether.

Click here for more information on those who have successfully and unsuccessfully challenged the TSA.