Denver TSA wrongfully subjects wheelchair-bound US Olympian to full-body search
Officials with the Transportation Security Administration in Denver were put through further training after an agent wrongfully subjected former US Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen to a full body search, KMGH-TV reported.
Van Dyken-Rouen, who has used a wheelchair since 2014, first revealed her treatment online on Sunday.
“They go around your breasts, they basically go under your butt and the just grab things,” she said. “Not grab, they touch things that are not appropriate and it’s really embarrassing.”
Compounding the situation was the fact that Van Dyken-Rouen is a member of the agency’s Precheck program, which allows passengers deemed as low-risk to receive expedited screening.
“I obviously cannot go through the metal detector,” she told KTAR-FM. “With the wheelchair and the rods in my back, that thing will [light] up like a Christmas tree.”
According to her, the female agent checking her alerted a supervisor when she told her that protocol in her case calls for her hands and feet swabbed for explosives. That supervisor, she said, behaved as if he knew more about the policy than she did.
“He said it this way: ‘You know, whatever has happened in the rest of the country – and even in Denver – before this, they are wrong,” Van Dyken-Rouen recalled. “The way that we’re doing this and that it should be done is my way.”
The ensuing search, she said, brought her to tears.
On Monday, the TSA released a statement saying that its review of the incident “determined that our officers did not follow correct screening protocols,” adding that “the officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well.”
Van Dyken-Rouen, a Colorado native, won six gold medals in two Summer Olympic games, including four gold medals at the 1996 edition in Atlanta. She has used a wheelchair since a crash in 2014 left her paralyzed from the waist down.
Watch KMGH’s report, as aired on Monday, below.