Andrea Fornella Abbott, the mother of a teenage daughter who was arrested for disorderly conduct last month at Nashville International Airport for vigorously protesting what she alleged to be an intrusive pat down search by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), equivalent to child molestation, has announced through her attorney that she will fight these charges in court, as reported by WTVF NewsChannel 5 Nashville, The Tennessean, The Greenville News, and other news sources published on August 2, 2011.
The incident which led to her arrest occurred on Saturday, July 9, 2011 at about 2:30 p.m. CDT while Ms. Abbott and her daughter were attempting to pass through a TSA security check before boarding Southwest Airlines Flight WN-3593 from Nashville International Airport (BNA) to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), as seen in the attached slide show and video clip.
According to press reports in The Tennessean, the distraught mother raged at TSA agents that she didn’t want her daughter to “be touched inappropriately or have her crotch grabbed.”
A video released by the Nashville Airport Authority shows that the woman continued to protest for at least 8-1/2 minutes before finally being arrested and placed in handcuffs, after she attempted to record the incident with her cell phone video camera.
The 41-year-old woman, who lives in Clarksville, TN was accused by agents of using profanities. As Sabrina Birge, a TSA security officer described the incident to police, “She told me in a very stern voice with quite a bit of attitude that they were not going through that X-ray.”
Ms. Abbott’s defense attorney Brent Horst said two days ago in an interview on Monday with WTVF NewsChannel 5 Nashville that he feels Abbott did nothing illegal, saying his client simply exercised her First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech in telling airport officials why she disagreed with them, adding “We’re not going to agree to plead guilty to anything.”
The incident has aroused a sympathetic response from others, fanning the flames of discontent with what many consider to be arbitrary and intrusive procedures by the TSA, which have been manifested in a number of earlier situations involving women, children, the handicapped, and elderly passengers that have been reported in the previously linked articles.
A Facebook group has been dedicated to “Freeing Andrea Fornella Abbott for Protecting her Child.”
Ms. Abbott returns to Davidson County General Sessions Court on October 13, 2011, unless the prosecutor decides to drop all charges against her.
An informal Internet poll shows that the TSA is tied with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the public’s view of the agency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) still takes top honors for being the most disliked.
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