84-year-old grandmother says she was strip searched by TSA

By David Edwards
Monday, December 5, 2011 9:23 EDT
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84-year-old  Lenore Zimmerman search by TSA
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An 84-year-old Long Island woman says she was humiliated recently when a strip search by Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) agents strip search left her with a bloody leg.

While passing through John F. Kennedy Airport on her way to Florida, 4-foot-11 Lenore Zimmerman asked if she could bypass the full-body scanner because she feared it might cause problems with her defibrillator.

Instead of receiving the expected pat down, Zimmerman said that two female agents took her to a private room and removed her clothes, according to The New York Daily News.

“They took my pants down, and then they took my underwear down,” she told WPLG.

If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, blood began to flow from her leg after she tried to lift a walker off her lap.

“My sock was soaked with blood,” Zimmerman explained. “I was bleeding like a pig.”

For their part, the TSA denies that the strip search ever happened.

“TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case,” the agency wrote on their blog.

Officials said that Zimmerman told them she was wearing a back brace or support belt, warranting the private screening.

But that apology wasn’t enough for the Zimmerman, who said she is planning to sue.

“Don’t I look like a terrorist?” she asked. “I’m going to be 85-years-old and I weigh 103 pounds — and they strip searched me.”

Watch this video from WPLG via CNN, broadcast Dec. 3, 2011.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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