Women Suing Over “Horrifying” Airport Searches

An unidentified woman goes through airport security. (Getty Images)

The 34-year-old Tameika Lovell was returning from a quick jaunt to Jamaica in 2016 when Customs and Border Patrol officers allegedly took her into a secure airport room, squeezed her breasts, searched her vagina with “four gloved fingers,” and had Lovell part her buttocks “for viewing.”

Now Lovell, who is black, has filed a lawsuit claiming the CBP violated her constitutional rights and ignored agency rules about invasive body searches, the Washington Post reports.

Her experience is one of about a dozen the Center for Public Integrity has examined over the past few years (including a particularly scary one)—all brought by women, including two minors, who say the CBP conducted demeaning body searches but found no contraband.

Lovell’s case is pending, but six of the lawsuits were settled for $1.2 million and one lost in a courtroom. At issue are CBP rules, which allow federal border officers to make people disrobe for rectal or genital searches and give observed bowel movements as drug checks, all without a warrant.

The agency handbook, however, requires officers to note a substantial justification for each step and respect people’s dignity. Other issues include race—each case highlighted by the Post involves a woman of color—and possible pressure exerted by President Trump’s administration on border officers, per the Washington Examiner.

It all amounts to a daunting legal battle for Lovell:

“Even though you are the victim there’s always that shadow of a doubt that people have about you.”

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Edited via Newser.

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Posted by on August 19, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to Women Suing Over “Horrifying” Airport Searches

  1. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    August 19, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve been under the impression that we have essentially no rights when it comes to search and seizure at ports of entry or even within 100 miles of the coast. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Shirley62 Reply

    August 19, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    You are not wrong!!!! I had a man put his hand up my skirt at LAX after I came back in country. Horrified doesn’t describe it.

  3. Glenn Geist Reply

    August 20, 2018 at 9:59 am

    It’s a rare thing with me, but there have been times when I simply lost it – “it” being all reason and restraint. I’m not sure what I would have done if that happened to a member of my family. It would not have turned out well.

    There used to be a large sign at O’Hare in Chicago: “Patience – a drug free America comes first”

    What a delusion and what an excuse and that was a long time before 9/11. I can’t imagine coming here as a tourist and it’s bad enough as a citizen.

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