Police charge mother in Nashville airport altercation

The Tennessean | Jul. 13, 2011

A 41-year-old Clarksville woman was arrested after Nashville airport authorities say she was belligerent and verbally abusive to security officers, refusing for her daughter to be patted down at a security checkpoint.

Andrea Fornella Abbott yelled and swore at Transportation Security Administration agents Saturday afternoon at Nashville International Airport, saying she did not want her daughter to be “touched inappropriately or have her “crotch grabbed,” a police report states.

After the woman refused to calm down, airport police said, she was charged with disorderly conduct and taken to jail. She has been released on bond.

Attempts to reach Abbott on Tuesday were unsuccessful. The report does not list her daughter’s age. The mother and daughter were traveling from Nashville to Baltimore on Southwest Airlines.

“(She) told me in a very stearn voice with quite a bit of attitude that they were not going through that X-ray,” Sabrina Birge, an airport security officer, told police.

“No, it’s not an X-ray,” she told Abbott. “It is 10,000 times safer than your cell phone and uses the same type of radio waves as a sonogram.”

“I still don’t want someone to see our bodies naked,” Abbott said, according to the police report.

At one point, Abbott tried unsuccessfully to take a video with her cellphone.

TSA policy revised

The arrest comes on the heels of public outrage over a video showing a pat-down of a 6-year-old girl at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The April video prompted a new policy that took effect last month in which airport security screeners must try to avoid invasive pat-down searches of children.

TSA says it will instruct screeners how to make repeated attempts to screen young children without invasive pat-downs. The instructions should reduce the number of pat-downs on children, TSA says.

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