TSA Breaks Your Laptop, Threatens You With Arrest

Reader Jake says a TSA agent dropped his laptop, smashing it in several places, then threatened him with arrest when he asked about filing a damage claim.

From Jake’s blog:

I wasn’t happy about this… I was rather upset! I approached the TSA guard who dropped my laptop and I asked him what he was thinking. He didn’t even apologize to me. Then I asked him how we could resolve this matter. And he told me that there were too many people waiting to get through the line, and I should move along as not to hold up the screening process. So I asked him again, where can I file a claim to resolve the damage done to my laptop. That’s when the supervising TSA guard walked over and told me that I should gather my belongings and move on to the departure terminals and if I create a scene, he would arrest me.

So what am I left to do??? I gathered my belongings, surveyed the damage, and went on to the departure terminals. When I arrived at my terminal, I approached the information counter and ask them what I could do in my situation. They told me I needed to go back to the TSA security checkpoint and talk to the supervising guard that’s standing in the middle of the checkpoint. I told the info lady that he was the one who threatened to arrest me, and that going back would surely result in me missing my flight. She then proceeded to tell me that there weren’t any other options in my case.

I waited a few minutes so I could eat some breakfast (and cool down), and I vented to my dad on my phone. After venting, I approached the check-in attendant and asked her for the PIT TSA phone number. She asked me what I needed it for, and I told her my situation — she was impressed that I was calm after what had happened — she said she probably would have flipped out and gotten arrested. The TSA phone number she gave me which turned out not to be any good, so I’m left to do some research.

In this day and age of our corrupt law enforcement officers who’s into tasing anyone and anything at any chance they get — I think I did the right thing by not raging and creating a scene; which would have caused me to get arrested.

Yep, Jake. You did the right thing. The TSA is liable for your laptop and you have two years to file a claim.

Here are some instructions on how to do it. The TSA says:

Once TSA has received a sufficient claim, you will be sent a letter of acknowledgement and a control number. Please recognize that there is often a 3-week delay for mail sent to Federal facilities due to screening requirements. Claims that are faxed will receive a quicker response. Either way, TSA will attempt to resolve your claim as quickly as possible (often within 90 days), however we may require up to six (6) months to fully investigate your claim before we can make a recommendation to approve, deny, or offer a settlement. After six (6) months, you have the right to file suit in U.S. Federal District Court. Small Claims Courts have no jurisdiction over Federal Tort claims. Please refer to the Federal Torts Claim Act for more information.

You can go to the TSA’s Claims Management Office’s website for more information.

To file a complaint about the agent who threatened you with arrest rather than give you this (rather basic) information, contact the “Claims Management Office Customer Service Manager.” Call the Contact Center at (866) 289-9673 or email the office at tsaclaimsoffice@dhs.gov. We’re sure they’d love to hear about it. Accidents happen and the TSA has a claims process in place to deal with it. That guy was a total jerk.

TSA Damage Report (w/ photos) [Jake Rhymes With Cake]



Edit Your Comment

  1. Bladefist says:

    Why are those who are put in place to “server and protect” often the same ones who screw us.

  2. Falconfire says:

    @bladefist: because they are often the ones who where the bullies in high school, and often are one step over janitor in many places.

    In my city I could name you a handful of exceptional SGT and Detectives that would for us, while i could easily name 20-30 who where complete lowlifes in high school who where constantly suspended.

  3. Bay State Darren says:

    In this day and age of our corrupt law enforcement officers who’s into tasing anyone and anything at any chance they get
    You lost my sympathies with that line pal. First of all TSA rent-a-cops do not merit comparison with real officers of the law, who risk their lives every day for you and your community. Are there bad ones out there? Absolutely. But don’t generalize it to the point where every cop is stereotyped as corrupt and use excessive force (two very different things, BTW). There’s unprofessional individuals in every field, bad cops get all oh the attention, though (and they deserve it, due to the high responsibility and impact of the job.) But they don’t all deserve this shit. Not every doctor is a Kevorkian and cops aren’t as overwhelmingly substantial in the thin blue line that protects us.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Bay State Darren: Look at Darren a regular “Captain Sacrifice”, your Taser retort was baseless. Tasers have NOT been tested appropriately and were rushed to market, before long term human effects could be investigated. If you are an officer who has used one you are certainly going to be lumped in with all the other cops with IQ’s no higher than 110. Tasers are now the main reason in the deaths of over 350 people in North America alone, as a result of indiscriminate misuse.
      The city of London England is boycotting Tasers as well as several other European countries.
      You are a fool to think you can justify such a baseless response to a persons honest fear of having electricity pumped into them, based on the mentality of a TSA screener who barely has a GED, AND something very obvious to hide.

      It was more than her right to question such actions with out fear of bullying from a dimwit.

      As far as the rest of the hard working cops are concerned, you should all be on mountain bikes, and driving ford escorts, working traffic. You are all fat, lazy, and or ineffective and corrupt.

  4. darkened says:

    Because police are our enemies.

  5. delphi_ote says:

    For the TSA, it’s a War on Passengers, not Terrorism.

  6. howie_in_az says:

    @Bay State Darren: Ironically it’s often the rent-a-cops that get off on their perceived power and end up abusing it, not the actual police. Your mileage may vary.

  7. Bay State Darren says:

    @Bay State Darren: and bad cops aren’t as overwhelmingly substantial in the thin blue line that protects us.

  8. INconsumer says:

    i would have gotten arrested. then i could have sued for more money

  9. Bulldog9908 says:
  10. hapless says:


    Assuming that you survive, yes.

  11. hwyengr says:

    One of my co-workers had the same thing happen to him. The told him that they needed to inspect laptops for a new explosives screening. When they dropped it, he said, “If that’s the new test, I guess I passed.” At which time they threatened to have him removed from the airport.

  12. Lonestar says:


    They are 5-10$ an hour rent a cops…. nothing more..

  13. cabinaero says:

    I wonder if Jake had his laptop listed under his renter’s/home-owners insurance. This would be a good time to file a claim.

  14. hypnotik_jello says:

    The should have just shown his receipt! LOL

  15. Myron says:

    TSA employees on a power trip seems to be a common theme to these stories. Aren’t these the same people who would otherwise be taking your order at McDonalds while letting you know with their body language that they have nothing but utter contempt for you.?

    This whole TSA police state is playing out exactly as predicted by the Stanford prison experiment.

    I’m surprised the TSA employees aren’t issued mirrored sunglasses and leather boots.

  16. bbbici says:

    I would have immediately pulled out a sound-recording device (recorder, camera, phone, etc) and recorded the whole conversation. If you actually got an agent threatening you with false arrest for asserting your rights, you would be a lock for a million-dollar lawsuit victory.

    I’m into recording any conversation of significance these days, hoping for just such a payout.

    To BayStateDarren: Kervorkian was not a bad doctor, he is an example of a good doctor.

  17. backbroken says:

    If your laptop hadn’t have been dropped, the terrorists would have won.

    Maybe al Qaida has developed a new exploding ‘hover laptop’ and the TSA agent was merely making sure yours was a good old-fashioned American gravity dependent laptop. Think before you complain next time.

    Seriously, it sucks when authority is abused like this. And it sucks worse that it’s gonna take you a year to get an compensation. Maybe if they wait long enough, they can claim your laptop is obsolete and that they only owe you $100 for the ‘old piece of junk.’

  18. sumobudah says:

    I don’t Condone what happened but please realize that most of the TSA people are the exact same security guards with less than 40 hours of training as they were before 9/11 just with a nifty name. Don’t bunch rent-a-cops in with real law enforcement officers. This is coming from a Criminal Justice and Security student that has seen things from both sides.

    Don’t make me out to be saying that there aren’t bad cops…there are…but they are far less prevalent that the media makes it out to be.

    In this instance Jake did exactly the right thing and not making problems for himself and he might want to contact the Airport manager by phone to file a complaint.

  19. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Unfortunately, giving underpaid, undereducated petty bureaucrats and clerks the power to have people miss their flights, be detained, harassed or arrested is an invitation to abuse. Insufferable, self-righteous, bullying pricks gravitate naturally and happily to work where they can impose rules upon other people.

  20. shan6 says:

    I am so sick of these stories of abused powers. Even though this particular jerk-off didn’t go the whole 9 yards, he would have, and would have been wrong.

  21. DrGirlfriend says:

    @TinyBug: You summed up what I was going to say. When employees are properly screened prior to employment, properly trained once hired, and paid decently, the odds are greater that these employees will handle their jobs much, much better.

  22. hi says:

    Nothing to see here, move along. And take your crappy broken laptop with you.

  23. m0unds says:

    That’s a total bummer. The TSA is a joke. They dropped & damaged an expensive camera of mine during “extended screening” a couple of years ago. I filed a claim and it was denied.

  24. ShadowFalls says:

    Basically, they wanted to get him to move along so they wouldn’t be the ones who got in trouble for breaking it. “Making a scene” is not an arrestable offense. You getting violent threatening people would be.

    Besides, if you got arrested for them breaking your laptop and them not caring, they would make a larger scene with news reporters, not to mention the increased monetary damages. Their logic seems to fail me. Then again, I suppose that is the issue with people who have had a poor education.

  25. Jerim says:

    I would have called the police. What happened was a crime, unless of course there are notices posted saying that they aren’t responsible for any damage. I doubt the TSA supervisor would have had as much an attitude when talking to the real cops. Although, I can see how someone holding up the line would be a security concern. At the same time, it is not usually what you say but how you say it that makes people treat you the way they do.

  26. phelander says:

    If Bay State Darren would stop sucking the cops off for five minutes and look at the situation, he wouldn’t make such stupid comments about the person this happened to. Waaaah you lost me. What a putz.

  27. hubris says:

    @Jerim: Even if there were signs posted saying they weren’t responsible, that wouldn’t have covered them, since they require you to comply with the TSA agents and they took it and dropped it.

    I can’t put up a sign on my front lawn saying I’m not responsible for people being shot and then take pot shots at people coming through my yard.

  28. MeOhMy says:

    I don’t know if would help, but if everyone reading dashed off a letter to their congresspeople and senators indicating that they were tired of TSA goons who have way too much power, way too little accountability and zero effectiveness, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

  29. mandarin says:

    Wow authority without liability…. Dont take threats lightly, I would sue the pants of them for making threats like that.

  30. rjhiggins says:

    @sumobudah: Actually, I think we’re learning that they are far MORE prevalent than anybody realizes — in large part because it’s so easy for them to cover things up, and cover for each other.

  31. MauriceReeves says:

    I guess I have to wonder:
    Jake, why do you hate America? Clearly causing a ruckus in the line presents a serious security threat. Furthermore, seeking monetary compensation from the TSA diverts essential dollars from the war on terror, putting us all at risk. And finally, by breaking your laptop, didn’t the TSA do us all a favor by forcing you to spend new money on semi-durable goods, like a new laptop, you would have thrown away on frivolous purchases? The TSA’s action results in a net gain for us all, keeping us safer, more secure, and feeding the economic machine.

    If you can’t get behind that, you clearly hate America, and Glenn Beck will be by later to set your house on fire.

    (And if anyone can’t tell that the above was sarcasm, get your heads inspected. Well, not all of the above. Seriously, don’t let Beck anywhere near your house. He’d probably set your house on fire just for sport. Then he’d spit on you and invite Nancy Grace over to roast marshmallows over the dying embers of your roasted possessions.)

  32. forever_knight says:

    @cabinaero: and get dinged for actually using it in a situation that isn’t his fault? no way.

  33. backbroken says:


    Ummm…I’m gonna take a guess that you don’t live in Tennessee then.

  34. drrictus says:

    Greyhound it is!

  35. miran says:

    The problem with the bad cops and the publicity that surrounds them is that they typically don’t even get a slap on the wrist, while their victims suffer, financially, at the very least, trying to avoid jail time. If the good cops (of which there are many) would actually do something about the bad ones, they would receive a lot more trust from the rest of us. As long as they sheltering bad cops behind the blue wall, they should NOT complain about the lack of public trust.

  36. Voyou_Charmant says:

    I hope you didn’t damage the airport’s carpet with your laptop, terrorist.

  37. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    Abusing other commenters is unnecessary and uncalled for.

  38. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Think how much better the TSA’s service would be if their workforce was unionized.

  39. magus_melchior says:

    @phelander: It really doesn’t help the discussion by following a “stupid comment” with one that’s not only inane, but insulting.

  40. nickripley says:

    @bbbici: Yeah, Kevorkian didn’t go around killing people. He assisted those that wanted his assistance. No cop would do that, especially a TSA jerk.

  41. bugsbenny36 says:

    I just completed a flight with my laptop, they never touched my laptop, I simply laid it in a bin of it’s own (outside the case), and took it out on the other end!

  42. Draconianspark says:

    That’s a Sony Vaio K series by the looks of it, and that damned battery door falls off if you breathe on it funny. Unfortunately without the door the battery slides out like it was coated with baby oil.

    That being said, this guy should file a formal complaint including the names of the TSA employees on top of the claims. It’s not going to do any good because I’m sure they have tenure without having tenure, but it will at least get the guy a slap on the wrist, and hopefully he’s done this to dozens of other complainers too so there’s a rolling record on him.

  43. MYarms says:

    I’d probably be a mean jackass too if I was making minimum wage and had to deal with tons of traveling people daily.

  44. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @MYarms: And that makes it right? This situation will become the norm as the Department of Fatherland Security keeps up their shit and we get TSA checkpoints at state lines as well.

  45. YerBuddy says:

    What are the laws regarding that? Can you make a sound recording without their knowledge? It is a public place so no one should have an expectation of privacy. Can any real attorneys comment?

  46. Landru says:

    @Bay State Darren:

    That’s right. TSA isn’t Law Enforcement.
    I mean, they can’t arrest you or anything, right?

  47. TechnoDestructo says:


    Oh come on…give them some credit. Some of them might be unarmed rentacops, some might be changing oil, there’s a bunch of menial, low-paying jobs they could be doing instead.


    I’ve never heard of a TSA job that paid minimum wage. Most I’ve seen advertised are like 10-12 bucks an hour.


    Are their supervisors licensed law enforcement officers, I wonder?

  48. XTC46 says:

    @Lonestar: they are $15-$20/hr rent a cops.

  49. MarkC says:

    The problem with the TSA is the same problem with much of our society. Basically, society is run by $8/hr employees. These people really don’t care about you or anyone else. They work hard for their very low wage and don’t really want to take gruff from anyone.
    Even if they make a mistake, why should they care? It’s not their device that broke. They are in a position of power and they are quite happy being able to order people who make MANY times their salary around.
    As a society, we are all to blame. We allow a very un-intelligent person to make decisions that affect us and the rest of the world. Our government is heavily influenced by corruption and lobbiests that have very deep pockets.
    People don’t govern for their own good, they do it w/o knowledge of the people or places they represent.
    We have democrats who want to raise taxes, charge for what should be free, and support money grubbing organizations like the MPAA and RIAA. And we have republicans who let their own religious teachings get in the way of sane judgement.

    What really needs to happen is essentially a reboot of this country and maybe a re-install of the OS (Keep democracy, just do it right for once.)

  50. CurbRunner says:

    @Myron: Said:
    “TSA employees on a power trip seems to be a common theme to these stories.”

    The reason their power trip is a common theme is because they are actually empowered to behave this way under the protection of the Patriot Act.
    This is just another element that signifies tolerated behavior evident in any emerging fascist country.
    So… welcome to AMERIKA… Now get back in line and shut the fuck up!

  51. bonsaitree says:

    As unintuitive and grossly inconvenient as it might sound, it is often BETTER to be arrested if you expect to be compensated for a good deal of monetary damages or a fundamental life or liberty principle is threatened. Of course, one always must factor in the cost of your time, trouble, legal fees, potential marks on your record, equipment costs, etc.

    In this society the balance rarely comes out in favor of ARREST, but rare does not mean never.

    Keep in mind that just because you’re under arrest does not mean that you’ve been formally charged with ANY crime. At most, you have been “served verbal and/or written notice” of pending charges. For example, in most U.S. states, you’re technically “under arrest” the minute you’ve been pulled over for a traffic stop–before the officer even gets out of his car and asks for your “license and registration”. You’re only cuffed if you need to be “placed into custody”.


    “Yes, if you feel I have committing a crime it is your sworn duty to arrest me. I disagree and feel that you are wrong. I will not camply, but I also will not resist. Let’s go.”

    You’re forcing the issue to the forefront of the guard’s mind. “Woah, o.k. this guy IS serious” and, at the very least, the incident will be HEAVILY DOCUMENTED and your laptop will formally be entered as “evidence”. At best, he’ll immediately take a careful accounting of the situation and realize he over-reacted or made an error in judgment.

    Law enforcement personnel, particularly the least experienced and less professional, tend to use the threat of arrest as a kind of situational “trump card” to avoid an argument or doing due diligence. It’s surprising to see the look on people’s eyes when you say “O.K. arrest me.” in a calm, but assertive tone. They immediately know that you’re very concerned and not at all intimated. I witnessed this personally 3 times in my life and have been involved directly with one DIA (internal affairs) division investigation.

    As a bit of background, I’m a software engineer, but I grew up with a close family friend in law enforcement and a very good friend works for the Secret Service. The “badge intimidation factor” just isn’t there for me. I realize that this is not the case for most people.

    From the text, I see evidence of a TSA officer acting VERY unprofessionally and eventually costing many people a great deal of time and money.

    Cops are people too. They happen to be people that, for the most part, have a sworn duty, a badge, a gun, and arrest powers–but they’re still people who make mistakes and have good and bad days.

    Nevertheless, just like any other professional, they should ACT professionally. A “stressful job” and having to make “life and death” decisions are no excuse to be an ass. Just talk to any stockbroker or doctor.

  52. Bay State Darren says:

    @Landru: Technically yes, they have powers of law enforcement an are officers of the law. Just like an executive chef at a four-star restaurant and a fast food burger flipper are also the same job. I’m defending the real, non-TSA, cops out there who bust their balls as I described. I’m not gonna defend a poorly run agency who miss something like 70% of test items and are mere window dressing in the post-9/11 world of constant fear about terrorism. These guys have the skill levels om mallcops. At my campus, the TSA posted a flyer for screener openings. The only requirements:
    *a GED
    *clean CORI/SORI record
    *U.S. citizenship
    That’s it. (They didn’t say this, but I’m guessing they don’t psych-screen for applicants with an inferiority complex and/or control issues.)

    Please, just don’t lump these guys in with real cops and don’t mistake everyone in blue for the unfortunate bad apples.

    BTW, wherever somebody said good cops don’t care about bad cops, you obviously haven’t met my forensic science instructor, who carried a badge for 35 years. He could set you straight on that one. Also go rent Serpico Even if it doesn’t change your mind it’s a damn good movie which I highly recomend.

  53. SecureLocation says:

    The moron probably wouldn’t have arrested you…these clowns just get a kick out of pretending they are doing important work, plus they’re getting even because they never got picked for the softball team when they were little

  54. bonsaitree says:

    @Bay State Darren, you’re so dead-on with regards to good cops caring about bad cops. I came away from the my whole DIA thing very impressed with the level of professionalism and passion to “root out corruption” of our local police force.

    The real issues with law enforcement these days are the lack of accountability and transparency in certain parts of “the system”. Thankfully, more folks “armed with video cameras” is starting to change that. Don’t get me started on the value of CCP too. IMHO, everyone should have one and everyone should know how to defend themselves. America has too many sheeple these days.

  55. kellyd says:

    This reminds me of a really horrible thing that happened to me a few years ago. My mom had come to visit me in San Francisco for Thanksgiving. We had a great time, and I took her to the airport to fly home. We’re fond of tearful goodbyes, loving each other as we do, and I took out my disposable camera to snap a shot of her waving back at me just before she went through the metal detector. Big mistake.

    A large man who was working in airport security (this was, I think, before they were officially TSA employees) came over and tried to confiscate my disposable camera. I explained that I had just been taking a photo of my mom going through the detector. Give me the camera, said the bully. Why? Because you can’t take photos in airports? REally? Is there a sign about that? No, but you can’t. Wait a minute, though, they’re selling cameras just like this one at that gift shop right there next to security, not ten feet away. Give me the camera or we’ll have to escalate.

    I gave him the camera that had all our Thanksgiving memories on it: Mom and my friends, cirque du soleil, the fancy buffet we went to at the Hotel Niko, us doing the Judds on a Karaoke stage. I then went outside to have a cigarette and calm down. (Smokers tend to all be in the same spot, and there were people on break who worked in the security checkpoint.) I heard from two different women who worked with that guy that this was not a hard and fast rule, that some people enforced it, but they didn’t even know about it. Essentially, the guy was bullying me and if only they’d not been on break, I’d still have my camera. They convinced me to get it back.

    I went in, asked to speak to someone higher-up (should have done that to begin with), and was referred to a man in a suit with a walkie-talkie. I explained the situation to him and he confirmed (he WAS TSA) that the goon shouldn’t have confiscated the camera. I asked him to help me get it back.

    We ended up going to another terminal, into one of those TSA-only rooms where they take breaks, get assignments, process paperwork, etc. After a lengthy process where I filed a complaint, he returned with me to the checkpoint: I couldn’t have the camera back, but I could arrange to have them charge me to develop the film and send me eveyrthing else on the roll that wasn’t mom going through the gate.

    When we got back to the original checkpoint, the camera had been destroyed. The goon had freaking smashed it to bits and thrown it away. I was a security risk for TAKING the photo, might have been a terrorist putting my white, attractive, crying mom onto a plane. (Not that it matters about color or attractiveness, but nobody’d mistake either of us for terrorists.) But they didn’t even want to see what was on the film. If I’d been doing reconnaissance for a terror ring, the goon had just destroyed the evidence/clues/whatever.

    Don’t back down with those security people–always escalate, calmly, rationally, but firmly. If I’d done that, my mom’s visit would be in a photo album now.

  56. parse says:

    @DrGirlfriend: It looks like the starting salary for a TSA employee is $49,000 annually. [www.opm.gov] Doesn’t that strike you as decent pay?

  57. iMike says:

    TSA DO NOT HAVE ARREST AUTHORITY. The only thing those cork soakers can do is call a cop and ask the cop to arrest you.

    YMMV on whether you get a rational cop who’s interested in sorting out the situation without unnecessarily escalating it, or a cowboy who wants to crack some heads.

  58. JoeVet says:

    @Bay State Darren Before you get all high and mighty trying to distinguish TSA from “real cops” you should look at [www.copswritingcops.com] and tell us how good cops can be complaining about having to follow the law like all us regular citizens. Serpico does not help your case either. Most of the cops in that show were corrupt.

  59. BugMeNot2 says:

    These people before 9-11-01 were working in the fast food industry! TSA “agent”, ha! TSA low IQ security guards. These people do not have ANY law enforcement training!!! A police officer would have taken responcibility but the TSA (total stupid security)guards have no skills in conflict resolution and are on a MEGA power trip. They are worthless.

  60. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Maybe they wouldn’t miss 70% of the fake bombs if they played less laptop boomerang?

  61. ne0shell says:

    Authority comes with responsibility and it only takes the actions of a few to ruin decades of good will, reputations and public trust. Thats reality – much the same way it only takes a few bad people to convince most cops that every civilian is a liar who wants to kill a cop and is smuggling drugs in the babies diaper.
    If you think the slide into fascism this country has taken is pure happenstance then you are sadly mistaken. The training programs given to cops, military and TSA are available to anyone who looks hard enough. Read them and find out we’re all “the enemy” now and are to be treated as such.

  62. jamar0303 says:

    This is why I buy my laptops from Japan- Panasonic and Sony both offer 3-year warranties that cover impact, fire, and water damage for their laptops in their domestic markets for an extra charge that I am all too happy to pay.

  63. frederico says:

    A TSA handler stole something out of my luggage one time. I know it was one of the TSA screeners because they scan the luggage and would have seen the item. It was wrapped and secure. My luggage was opened and only this item was gone. I informed the Las Vegas airport authorities and my airline. I didn’t go near the TSA because I would have ended up on a no fly list. They will mess with you any way they can. I think that everyone should just refuse to fly until the airlines get their act together. The last time I went to Las Vegas, I rented a car.
    Renting a car and driving may take more time but you don’t have to risk some goon with a GED threatening you with a felony because you exercise your right as a consumer.

  64. RvLeshrac says:


    Wow. I’ve been looking for something like that for ages. That’s going in my file of things to yank out in court. “If our law enforcement officers are not subject to the law, why should we be?”

    Sending the site to the local news, too.

  65. RvLeshrac says:


    Oh, and judging by all the “Dicks of the month” nominations going to VA state troopers, I guess I’ll have to send them a letter commending them on doing the job that the local police don’t do.

    I don’t mind a warning for a few miles over the limit – which is why we have “minimum over” laws for fines and points, but when you regularly have cops doing 100+ in patrol cars with no lights, there’s an issue.

    Patrol car with no lights made a U-turn in front of me and another guy yesterday, and nearly killed both of us as he ran up on the curb and then swerved back across two lanes of traffic before regaining full control of the car. I wish I’d had a pen to write down the license on the car.

    And yet the LEOs and such in this post are berating the TSA for being “unintelligent.” Ironic at best.

  66. AdminX says:

    @INconsumer: oh please. if you’re going to get arrested, make sure it’s not over yelling. give someone a hard kick in the balls, or break someone’s nose. save the courts for the real crimes.

  67. dualityshift says:

    @Bay State Darren: If you think that cops, and rent-a-cops don’t abuse their power, you must be the most optimistic (read blind) individual reading consumerist.

    The sad fact is, most cops and rent-a-cops think they are above the law, and abuse that power daily.

  68. Severius says:

    @Bay State Darren:

    Wow, so the guy loses your sympathies by telling the truth? It is impossible not to generalize cops as corrupt power hungry assholes because that is all they are. I have never met a cop who does not fit that stereotype, and I have met many cops. I’m sure there are good cops out there. But they are few and far between. The man also specifically mentioned bad cops, not all cops. Oh and BTW, Kevorkian helped sick people die the way they wanted, rather than letting them live in pain and degradation for a few months before finally croaking. STFU!

  69. nikolai says:

    Bay State Darren; FYI: My attitude had always been similar to yours, maybe not quite as “rah-rah”, but I figured maybe 1 cop out of 10 was a bad apple. Then I was talked to a former San Bernadino sheriff’s deputy who told me, “Yeah you have it about right, except for one thing.” I asked him what he meant and he replied, “Well it’s more like 1 in 10 cops are good, and 9 are bad.” When I asked him is he was kidding, he said “Absolutely not, I’m serious as can be.” Yet another example was when my uncle rode along with a cop friend to see if he maybe wanted to be a cop himself. He met the cop at the jail where he and some other cops were beating prisoners bloody. Being young and dumb, he kept his mouth shut, figuring the prisoners had done something to “deserve” it. On the ride along, they were in the foothills when the cop spotted a transient. The cop went to the question the guy and while my uncle was watching, suddenly the cop grabs him (the transient) and throws him off a cliff. The transient kind of screams, but the cop says, “Ok, that’s it, let’s go” and they get back in the patrol car and leave. My uncle decided then and there that there was no way he wanted to be a cop. He also severed his “friendship” with the cop. As far as T$A employees, they are overpaid (sorta) security cops.
    Some of them are ok and some are not. The big issue here is the abuse of power that even ticket agents and flight attendants sometimes pull out of their a$$ when they get in a bind with an angry customer. They cop out and play the “security” card and threaten to call the police because THEY CAN, as it’s the easy way out. Still, if people who get get abused like Jake document everything and pursue it through the proper channels sending multiple copies to the news media, the TSA, the airport authority and anything/anyone else they can think of, I can guarantee that you will most likely make things VERY uncomfortable for the T$A employee who abused his/her position. If he/she has a record of abusive behavior, it COULD cost them their job. No employer wants trouble-making, brusque employees, even T$A, believe it or not. Document, document, DOCUMENT! these abuses and follow up on them; documentation brings down giants! Remember that.

  70. brello says:

    @Bay State Darren: Yeah, real officers attempt to give me a ticket for a license plate frame that just happened to be legal. I also happened to be carrying the documentation stating so. She had the nerve to try to get me to bring a warning into the police station. I told her to fulfill her quota the real way and handed it back to her. I used to respect the officers, but the more BS they put me through, the less I respect them. I thought they had character, ethics, all that stuff. Perhaps most of them do, but there are definitely some worthless people in their ranks.

  71. deabruzo says:

    They might be able to arrest you for taking the photograph, assuming it’s illegal, but they cannot confiscate your property: that’s illegal. As a photographer, I’ve learned this.

    Unfortunately, there’s a big difference in suing for a disposable camera and $5000 in equipment (or even a $100 card with invaluable wedding photos or news photos on it, not to mention when it’s from a credentialed member of the press (first amendment issues) — but I digress. Not that the photos were invaluable to you.

  72. defylogik says:

    with TSA it is all about who you get and their mood that day. Flying in and out of washington national on a regular basis, the people are generally rude and lazy. This is a major airport, and always at risk due to where you land tak-off (less than 2 miles from the pentagon).

    I always have a completely opposite experience flying in/ out of Toledo Express Airport (in toledo, ohio). The people there are EXTREMELY courteous, and the lines are very short. It is a small airport, staffed by about 5-10 security people at one time. Never a line, but i always get a full search, but they are never rude and always have a nice disposition.

  73. defylogik says:


    i second this. as a virginia resident, VA cops are the countries WORST. Unmarked police cars everywhere, doing things they really shouldn’t be doing.

    And yes they, absolutely LOVE to pull 180s across busy lanes of traffic with no lights, doing 100+ mph all over the place. Frankly it makes me nervous that there are no checks and balances on them.

  74. bugsbenny36 says:

    There seems to be a common ground here in TSA agents making minimum wage and being stressed out, no one forces them to work for the TSA, if they can’t handle it they should simply go back to flipping burgers or some other less-stressful line of work!

  75. asscore says:

    Maybe one is 5000 cops is “good”. And by good I mean they personally studied and care for the constitution of the United States. The rest are just “enforcing the law” (read violating citizens rights).
    And I’d bet money all the good ones were hired before 1970… when policing was community orientated.

  76. BugMeNot2 says:

    Security forces of any description are fair game when fighting fascists. As are any government employees. “Good cops” give me a break :rolleyes: I reckon there were “good” members of the SS who were just trying to get by as well.

  77. dantsea says:

    Y’know, I’ve been in one situation — at Phoenix’ Sky Harbor, no less — where the TSA types threatened arrest because I wasn’t respecting their authoritah and talking smack to one of theirs dishing it out. I told them to bring on the police, I’d be happy to wait right there for them. We stared at each other for 30 seconds, and he told me to move on, no police involved.

    Bear in mind that I normally wouldn’t do such a thing. But I’d been having a bad day and getting bullied by the TSA twats was just the last straw. I’m not sure if I got lucky; I don’t think so. I really think they threaten arrest all the time because there are so few people who’ll call their bluff on it.

  78. dcovey54 says:

    I had a fun experience last week in Atlanta. 4:45am, I am in line for security near the plastic bins when the TSA screener closed one of the two open lines and moved people into one line. A few people grumbled, I jovially commented to the man next to me that “evidently they have 50% excess capacity this morning”. I wasn’t even talking to the TSA guy. However on the other side of the xray machine he decided to give me a lecture on making comments at the security check point.

    I was in a pretty good mood for that time of the morning with a first class ticket in my pocket so I just laughed, told him I was glad he didn’t take it personally and to have a good day.

    As often happens to me, I figured out what I really wanted to say later. Remember, the TSA is our government, if I don’t like the way they’re running things and I make any comment not directly prohibited by statute, that’s protected speech, the first ammendment guarentees me the right to critize the government, and while the ex-fry cook manning the x-ray machine isn’t necessarily to blame for the problems, he doens’t have a leg to stand on lecturing me about joking with my fellow cattle about TSA proceedures.

  79. dextrone says:

    Hmmm, there’s even more reason for me to use trains as opposed to airplanes. Too bad, such good technology gone to such waste. How long does it take people (by that I mean the ones who regulate it) to realize that this type of travel should be efficient, not a waste of time (and from experience, this has wasted my time and made me miss my flight, even though I arrived at a reasonable time (it was extra security checks on my relatives)).

    Perhaps they can get around this eventually…..they really need to have higher standards. Not place a bar and tell people how to jump over it or go under it and to raise the standards on moral (it’s a bit indirect; there is a vast multitude of problems affected by these low standards; I’m referring to raising the standards for those who work in the public sector).

  80. G-16 says:

    What is sad is some people might read that and think it is true, well they might be the same $5 to $10 rent-a-cops that broke the laptop in the first place.