A grandmother is planning legal action, claiming that agents from the Transportation Security Administration subjected the 85-year-old to a humiliating strip search at New York’s JFK airport, the New York Daily News reports.
Lenore Zimmerman, of Long Island, was en route to Florida on Nov. 29 when she said she was moved to a private room and forced to remove her clothes by TSA officials. She alleged she wanted to be patted down rather than go through a body scanner because she feared it would interfere with her defibrillator.
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“I walk with a walker — I really look like a terrorist,” she sarcastically told the Daily News. “I’m tiny. I weigh 110 pounds, 107 without clothes, and I was strip-searched.”
Zimmerman says she was also left bleeding in the process after banging her leg against a walker. She complained the two female TSA agents showed no sympathy and simply continued with the invasive body search. “My sock was soaked with blood,” the retired receptionist added. “I was bleeding like a pig.”
Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, told the Daily News the agency had reviewed closed circuit television footage from the terminal and determined “proper procedures were followed.” A statement released Dec. 3 also appeared to dispute the grandmother’s account of the incident. “While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols and one was not conducted in this case,” the statement read.
Bruce Zimmerman, who dropped his mother at the airport prior to the incident, was left fuming. “My mother is a little old woman. She’s not disruptive or uncooperative,” he said, according to MSNBC. “I don’t understand how this happened.”