Memphis pilot files lawsuit over airport body-scans - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis pilot files lawsuit over airport body-scans

Michael Roberts Michael Roberts
Officials demonstrate the new full-body scanner at Memphis International. Officials demonstrate the new full-body scanner at Memphis International.

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South pilot who refused a full-body scan at Memphis International Airport is suing the TSA.  Michael Roberts and attorneys at the Rutherford Institute are suing the federal government over air passenger screening procedures.

"We're basically challenging the constitutionality of the new policies under the 4th Amendment," Roberts said Tuesday.

A pilot with ExpressJet Airlines, Roberts was in full uniform and trying to commute to his job in Houston when he refused to submit to a full body scan and pat down at Memphis International Airport.

"Evidently my refusal to show them my whole naked body and my uncomfortableness with them putting their hands on me was a big deal," he said.

An official with the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday it is against the agency's policy to comment on potential or pending litigation. 

But the TSA released a statement that said, "Advanced imaging technology is optional for all passengers. Passengers who decline to be screened using advanced imaging technology will receive alternative screening to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Anyone who refuses screening will be denied access to the secure area."

"I'm not against airline security, but this is not security in any stretch of the imagination," Roberts said.

Instead, Roberts would like to see a better system be implemented.

"It's not reasonable when you walk into the airport, and just because you want to fly on an airplane that they should strip search you, or physically put their hands on your crotch or feel your body from top to bottom," he said.

Roberts claims he has not been able to return to work due to his refusal to be screened. He is currently working with a labor attorney in Houston, who is communicating with his employer.

Action News 5's calls to ExpressJet for comment were not returned.

What is your opinion about full body scanning or pat downs at the airport?  Leave a comment on this story and tell us what you think.

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