Man Says Surgery Needed After Rough Treatment By TSA At O’Hare - NBC Chicago
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Man Says Surgery Needed After Rough Treatment By TSA At O’Hare

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    NBC 5 Investigates a controversial incident at O'Hare, in which video shows a man being searched by a TSA agent. He says it was so aggressive that he now needs surgery. NBC 5's Phil Rogers has the story. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017)

    David Stavropolous says last March, all he wanted was to make his flight to Dallas.

    But Stavropolous says he was stopped at a security checkpoint at O’Hare, and frisked so hard by a TSA agent that he will need surgery in October.

    “I see a urologist once or twice a month,” he said. “I’m still in pain—I still have issues with bleeding.”

    In a federal complaint filed Wednesday, Stavropolous detailed how he was stopped after stepping out of a full body scanner by an agent who asked if he had anything in his pockets.

    “I pulled out a dollar bill,” he said. “I asked if I should go through the scanner one more time and he said no, we’ll do a full body patdown.”

    It was during that patdown, he said, that the agent drove a hand into his groin so hard, twice, that he was immediately hit by waves of pain.

    “I turned around and said, you injured me,” he said. “I’d like to talk to your supervisor!”

    Stavropolous said at first he was threatened with arrest. Then he was told he would have to submit to a strip-search in another area.

    “I said if you’re going to do a strip search, I refuse,” he said. “I’ll do it out in the open!”

    In the end, he said he was merely subjected to another patdown. But by that point, he had missed his flight.

    “I asked at that point, since I was going to miss my flight could I just leave,” he said. “But they made me stay to do the additional patdown.”

    A TSA spokesman declined comment on the suit, but in a statement emphasized the agency’s security mission.

    “Lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations,” the statement said. “In DHS’s homeland security mission, our trained officers adhere to the Department’s mission, uphold our laws while continuing to provide our nation with safety and security."

    Attorney Joel Handler, who filed the federal complaint, called the whole episode unnecessary.

    “This was a body scan—they knew exeactly what Dave had on him and what he didn’t,” Handler said. “Go into his groin area? For what?”

    NBC 5 Investigates is not naming the agent---because of concerns he had not been given notice of the suit.

    Stavropolous says not only did he not make his business trip to Dallas that day in March---he hasn’t flown since.

    “I’m kind of fearful of going through TSA and having another event like I had,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to look forward to that!”

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