TSA Workers Can't Arrest You, But They Can Have You Tased


Remember last week, when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers wanted the power to arrest you? This week brings a partial solution to that problem: Handy sheriff's deputies with Tasers.

[Sacramento County sheriff's department spokesman Jason] Ramos said the incident began about 1:30 p.m., after the man deboarded a plane and walked outside the airport's secure area into the baggage claim area, then turned around and tried to get back into the secure area. He told the TSA agent who greets arriving passengers that he left something behind on his plane, Ramos said.

The TSA agent would not allow the man back into the secure area, and directed him to get a pass at the ticketing counter. The man returned to the security checkpoint with the pass, but reportedly refused to submit his bag for screening, Ramos said.

The man began arguing with TSA officials, and nearby deputies intervened, Ramos said. The argument turned into a physical altercation, and deputies used Tasers several times on the man before he stopped fighting, Ramos said.

The man was "taken to a local hospital for a 'precautionary evaluation,'" but don't worry, "no flights were affected."

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  1. Well, ok, the TSA didn’t tase anyone, but nearby deputies did? I hate the TSA as much (maybe more!) than anyone, but this might be a mountain out of a molehill. Especially since we don’t know exactly how the guy acted. For all we know, he may have been threatening to kill everyone in the concourse.

    1. Yeah – I no longer fly to avoid the TSA, I think they’re the worst thing the government has done in 40 years, and should be abolished in an instant, yet I don’t have a problem with this. This is exactly the sort of thing that would have happened if we never had the TSA and were still using our old methods.

      1. Yeah, I mean there was security before the TSA, and if you walked in and started throwing overhand rights at the security personnel, you’ll probably get tased. And better that than getting shot.

        1. pre-TSA, how much of a Big Fucking Deal was it to retrieve an item left on the plane you just got off of?

          1. No deal at all. I remember doing it with zero hassle.

            1. Not a big deal if you are still on the concourse. A bigger deal if you had already exited the secure area, for example, are now in baggage claim area. Then you had to (and still do) return to the airplane via security/screening checkpoint. Big difference now is you need a boarding pass/ID to get through security checkpoint. Before, anybody could go through screening and out to the plane. However, Never could you do what this guy was trying: refuse to have your bag screened/Xrayed.

              1. I abandoned this thread, but this is accurate. I ran into the same exact thing well pre-911 and you could not, under any circumstances go back once you left the secure area. You had to go back through the metal detectors.

                But admittedly this was during the time when you didn’t need a boarding pass to go back through the secure area. Anyone could go through, they just need submit to the search.

            1. I spent a lot of time in airports pre-9/11. And once you entered the baggage area, you had to go back through screening to get into the boarding area.

              This guy sounds like he showed his ass by refusing to go through screening process. He was most likely given the choice of leaving the screening area and he refused.

              Everybody knows my feelings on the heavy hand of law enforcement, but I have no problem with this disruptive man being tazed because he interfered with the other passengers’ ability to get through screening. Fuck him.

              1. that sounds REASONable.

      2. I have a great story about pre-9/11 pre-TSA airport freedom.

        I flew up to Minnesota for a family gathering, and was the last person to arrive in town. Everyone else who was already there showed up at the airport to greet me. They were all wearing hats and other ridiculous paper and plastic throwaway party gear, and had a GIANT sign with the family’s last name on it. They were waiting for me right at the gate. That was in August of 2001.

        1. I’m tired of these motherfucking squirrels on this motherfucking site.

          Even the timestamps are backwards, so you know it wasn’t my fault.

          1. i have a great story too

            pre-tsa, i was a cop in hawaii.

            i had to do an extradition (transport a suspect arrested on another island back to my island)

            another cop and me got the duty (love extraditions!)

            so, i arrive at the airport security gate, flash my badge and say “XXX pd. extradition”

            WACKENHUT (lol) security guard says “ok” and let’s me walk on the plane with my gun

            NO CHECK of my credentials beyond a badge flash

            also, no requirement that i take any sort of training in regards to carrying (and possibly discharging) on a plane

            any dipshit with a badge, and a little chutzpah could have walked on to a plane similarly.

            that is a RIDICULOUS lack of security, despite the fact that to my knowledge, nobody took advantage of it

            iow, results based analysis doesn’t apply. that is insufficient security.

            nowadays you can’t get on the plane without cross checking your identity AND you have to take a “flying while armed” class

            1. that is a RIDICULOUS lack of security, despite the fact that to my knowledge, nobody took advantage of it

              We should take precautions to prevent something that’s demonstrably not a problem!

              Or did I misintepret your point? It wasn’t a fucking problem, but still, something should be done differently. And that would have prevented nutjobs with boxcutters how, exactly?

              1. that’s how security works, yes.

                proper security means being proactive.

                frankly, speaking from successful criminal acts, in many cases it is easier to pull off crimes using subterfuge (like if a dood wanted to board the plane with the fake badge vs. using force) but fortunately MOST criminals don’t use finesse, etc. the GOOD ones often do, but most of them use poor tactics, which is why they are easy to catch

                i mean, we’ve had fingerprints for decades, but idiots will still plan to do burg’s and won’t wear gloves


                but yes, that’s a fundamental aspect of intelligent security. you don’t wait until somebody does X to recognize that it represents a security hole

                it WAS a security hole, that any dingdong with a little self-assured bravado could flash a piece of metal and board a plane with gunz a plenty

                and of course IF and WHEN somebody did there would have been much hadnwringing about how awful security was, and why didn’t they have better security

                kind of like if they had tested the fucking O-ring on the space shuttle to see how it was affected by cold, we wouldn’t have lost it.

                good security requires proactive thinking. iow, you look for potential holes

                the same could be said of programming. you don’t wait UNTIL somebody exploits your software. you at least try to write it so it doesn’t have holes in the first place

              2. it wouldn’t prevent dipshits with boxcutters. it would prevent dipshits with guns

                whether or not you think banning gunz on plane is good policy, the fact is that the LAW ABIDING people ARE prohibited , since they go through checkpoints and don’t try to sneak em on

                GIVEN THAT, we should certainly try to prevent those who would take a gun on a plane since it gives them a substantial tactical advantage

                however, contrary to media myth, it really does not prevent a substantial risk of the type of depressurization disaster we see in movies

            2. “XXX pd. extradition”

              You were in that? What’s it like to work with Kimberly Kupps?

              1. well, not exactly the tightest bulb on the tree, so to speak. i’d need far more girth to get any pleasure out of her

            3. Since our anecdotal evidence of our interactions with police are dismissed by you out of hand as bigotry, I’ll ask you why you are so prejudiced against Wackenhut?


              1. i am not prejudiced AGAINST wackenhut. they do a good job on stuff they are adequately trained and prepped for

                in THIS case, they were neither adequately trained nor properly supervised, since they routinely let people on airplanes with gunz, by merely flashing a badge

              2. oh, and your anecdotal interactions are not dismissed by me out of hand. in fact, on multiple occasions, i have said they are indicative of misconduct, etc.

        2. We heard you the first time!

        3. I have a great story about pre-9/11 pre-TSA airport freedom.

          I worked at Dulles International as a teenager in the late ’80s, my job was to escort wheelchair-bound passengers, minors, blind people, etc. from the plane to the terminal or vice versa (I got to wheel Peggy Lee to her limo one day, she tipped me two bucks). Anyway, the doors to the jetways were secured with basic Simplex pushbutton locks, to which we teenage punks had the combos. It was normal, on slow days, for us to go chill out in the cockpit of an empty plane that was laying over for a little while. That was over twenty years ago; I can only imagine what sort of rigamorale airport employees deal with on a daily basis these days.

      3. I have a great story about pre-9/11 pre-TSA airport freedom.

        I flew up to Minnesota for a family gathering, and was the last person to arrive in town. Everyone else who was already there showed up at the airport to greet me. They were all wearing hats and other ridiculous paper and plastic throwaway party gear, and had a GIANT sign with the family’s last name on it. They were waiting for me right at the gate. That was in August of 2001.

        1. If you want a perfect example of just how fucked up things have gotten since 9-11, watch Home Alone.

  2. Powertrip

    Who’s gonna teach you how to dance?
    Who’s gonna show you how to fly?
    Who’s gonna call you on the lame-dope-smoking, slackin’ little sucker you are?
    Who’s gonna get you from behind?

    1. Their videos would be great if they had fewer shots of the band.

    2. + 1 Monster Magnet

      1. their latest album is fucking awesome btw

    3. Now this is trashmetal.

    4. Damn, Warty. Next time I’m in Indiana/Ohio we have got to party, dude. You have excellent taste in music!

      1. EDG and Warty sittin’ in a tree
        First comes love,
        Then santorum.
        Then comes Warty with a leather noose for ’em.

        1. Lovely.

          1. Too much? BTW, I’m in Huntington Beach right now, heading by the LBC tonight. Let me know if you want to grab a beer…not because I think you’re into ^^that^^, but because it’s always a good idea for Buckeyes to get together and grab a few.

            1. I just e-mailed you. The wife and I are going to Glendale tonight for dinner w/ friends (Armenian accountants that are liberty minded, and drinkers, too!). Next time you are heading down here, e-mail me, and we’ll throw down a couple.

  3. Please cite your sources, Reason. Where is that news excerpt from?

  4. “The man began arguing with TSA officials”

    How dare he talk back to our masters!! Who does he think he is? A free man or something?

  5. No link to the original story.

  6. From the reporting in this article, I don’t understand what the TSA agents are supposed to have done incorrectly or badly.

    1. Offer to call the airline and ask them to look for the missing item and to set it aside?

      1. Government is not a customer-centric activity! Diddi Mao!!

    2. Same reaction here, given the context of airport security generally.

      Sounds like the guy was really tired and cranky, and just kind of lost his shit.

      1. I’d lose my shit too arguing with (insert government bureaucracy here).

  7. Well duh… of course he got tased. That’s SOP for cops in California. There are plenty of reasons to hate the TSA, but this incident appears to be more of a problem with poorly trained deputies.

    1. it doesn’t appear to be a problem at all. you have no idea if the tasign was justified or not. nor do i.

      1. You are correct, and I openly admit the fault of my previous statement. I suppose the guy should count himself lucky that they just used a taser.

        1. well thank you. it’s nice to know two of us can admit fault.

          there’s a few here that would rather run around in circles making inane justificatons rather than admit they were wrong… ever.

          it gets tiresome

          it amuses me that so many people come to these places entirely assured that they are 100% right in their convictions and with no possibility they might be wrong

          i mean what’s the fucking point? just to spout off one’s own viewpoint without considering others?

          heck, i used to be totally for gun control. intelligent arguments from people on the intertoobs, as well as some personal experience as a firefighter and later as a cop, etc. helped change my mind

          some people are so steeped in their ideology, they are like creationists, but will never admit it


  8. TSA didn’t “have anyone tased”. They had to step back like the useless powerless weenies that they are. The Sheriff would have to do the arresting just like they have to do the tasering. Not a single TSA agent has the authority to tell any cop to taser a passenger.

  9. One TSA agent commented that he hoped the incident would be posted on YouTube because “it was epic.”


  10. Years ago it was considered torture when cops used electric cattle prods on people, but tasers are okay? Times change, huh?

    1. well, among other reasons, because they are very different devices, and are used for different reasons.

      i’ve been tased twice, but never cattle prodded. the taser was effective in achieving neuromuscular incapacitation, which is the goal.

      1. Not so different – other than the fact that an old-fashioned, electric cattle prod isn’t as likely to kill you as a taser. Electric stun batons especially are very similar to cattle prods but with a stronger shock. While all such devices may be used for various reasons and in various ways, the ultimate goal is control – whether we’re talking man or animal.

        1. rubbish. cattle prods aren’t designed for neuromuscular incapacitation

  11. 90 days for felony assault ? on a cop? that’s UNpossible!!! 🙂

    personally, i’d WAY rather get punched or kicked than have somebody spit a loogie in my food.

    SEATTLE — A Washington sheriff’s deputy who claims he suffered emotional distress after a Burger King worker spit in his Whopper will get his day in court, just not the one he wanted.

    The King, it seems, would not be pleased.

    Finding that Washington consumer protection law is unclear as to whether emotional distress is enough to support a lawsuit, a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has asked the state Supreme Court to rule on the issue. The Clark County deputy’s lawsuit was previously dismissed after a lower federal court found Washington law did not support such suits.

    Deputy Edward Bylsma sued Burger King in U.S. District Court claiming a Burger King employee with a criminal record ruined his late-night snack by spitting – brace yourself – a “slimy, clear and white phlegm glob” into his Whopper.

    DNA testing showed employee Gary Herb to be the source of the sputum. Herb was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to a related assault charge.

    According to the deputy’s version of events, Bylsma pulled his cruiser into a Vancouver Burger King early on March 24, 2009, to pick up an early morning lunch.

    The workers there gave him an “uneasy feeling,” which proved correct when he pealed back the Whopper’s top bun and found the spit resting atop the meat patty, according to the lawsuit. Bylsma claims to suffer “ongoing emotional trauma from the incident, including vomiting, nausea, food anxiety and sleeplessness.”

    The deputy’s lawsuit, though, was thrown out by a district court judge, who found that Washington consumer protection law did not allow for damages when emotional distress is the sole injury sustained.

    Reviewing the lower court decision, the three-judge appellate panel found that the state consumer protection law remains so unsettled the federal courts need a clarification from the Washington Supreme Court before they can address the issue.

    “We conclude that the issue presented in this appeal – whether the (Washington Product Liability Act) permits relief for emotional distress caused to a direct purchaser by a contaminated product in the absence of physical injury – ‘has not been clearly determined’ by the Washington courts,” the appellate judges ruled.

    “The answer to the unsettled question of law presented by Bylsma’s appeal will have far-reaching effects on those involved in the manufacture and sale of products in Washington,” the judges continued. “We are reluctant to create uncertainty in this area of the law by answering this question ourselves in the first instance.”

    The state Supreme Court must now decide if it will answer the appellate court’s question. Until then, Byslsma’s lawsuit will remain paused in federal court.

    1. fwiw, i have a problem with lawsuits like this, because i take issue with the EMPLOYER being fiscally responsible for the employee’s conduct here, unless it could be shown they knew about it and di nothing, or didn;t do something they should have to prevent it.

      burger king has the deep pockets, but should they be responsible because of an employee’s misconduct? generally not, imo

      1. Unfortunately, if Burger King did not specifically instruct employees not to spit in food, they may be liable. Based on some of the workers’ comp bullshit I’ve dealt with, I’m not joking.

        Apparently, you have to tell idiots not to subject themselves to grave bodily injury, so I can’t imagine you don’t have to tell them not to spit in food.

        1. kind of like husqvarna putting a “do not apply blade to genitals” warning on chainsaws.

          this is one of the things that really pushed me towards libertarianism (and tort reform) … the whole deep pockets, stuff, where somebody can be theoretically 1% responsible for an incident, but because they have deep pockets can be sued tons for it

          similarly, i don’t even think bars should be sued for overservice.

          it’s all about personal responsibility

          now, if they KNEW the guy spit in the food, or they had reason to believe he WOULD do it, etc. that’s different

          but since it’s not reasonable to expect them to be able to watch employees every second, it’s not reasonable to hold them responsible forshit like this

          i do not doubt for a second what you say is true. in brief, if that’s the law, then the law is an ass

  12. results based analysis doesn’t apply.

    And that’s how you know Fearless Fosdick is a real libertarian.

    1. that’s how i know you may not be

      hint: assume arguendo that a given policy would SAVE LIVES

      does that make it ok? no

      that’s results based analysis as applied to policy

      all sorts of freedoms we have mean we accept tradeoffs. that includes risks of injury, even death

      that’s how freedom works.

      in regards to security, frankly i thank god that in the real world, people don’t wait for shit to happen (or at least sometimes they don’t) before realizing some policy has massive fuckupedness

      personally, i’m not going to wait for my house to burn down, and chances are it never will. there is a TINY chance it will, but i still buy fire insurance to cover against, an unlikely, but devastating potential loss

      that’s how adults make risk assessments

      the fact that you could walk on to a plane and be the only one with a gun, by merely flashing a badge is AWFUL security. the fact that (to the best of my knowledge) nobody exploited a loophole doesn’t change the fact that it’s a major loophole

      and i am 100% certain taht if some crims had boarded the plane by flashing fake badges that nobody checked on you would be lulzing at how stupid security was, and how this was proof etc. of bla bla bla bla

  13. Two TSA agents stole $40,000 cash out of a passenger’s checked luggage.

    One guy saw the money on an x-ray as the bags were being processed, called his buddy over, they marked the bag with an X and then as it moved to a more secluded part of the process, they opened it up and grabbed the cash. Then they split it up later in the men’s room.

  14. I agree, that is a sweet boat.

  15. hint: assume arguendo that a given policy would SAVE LIVES

    does that make it ok? no

    that’s results based analysis as applied to policy

    Rainbow flavored bunnies luminesce pungently under masticating shards of moonlight.

    1. iow, principles only matter to you sometimes.

      how typical

  16. TSA Gate Rape & Nuking…

    PLEASE Tase Me BRO!

  17. Eh. I can only hope that one day a TSA agent calls a sheriff’s deputy after feeling up a little kid and catching shit for it from the parents, and gets his own ass arrested and on the sex offender registry.

    Sheriffs can be assholes, but they tend toward being populist assholes.

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