June 19, 2012 -- A former TSA agent in Ft. Myers, Fla., who received a pat down she found intrusive is heading to court in early July to protest misdemeanor battery charges after she demonstrated on a security supervisor to complain about the way she was touched.
Carol Price, of Bonita Springs, Fla., was traveling on United Airlines from Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers to Cleveland, Ohio on April 20, en route to her brother's funeral in Cincinnati.
When she went through security, Price received a pat down that she felt involved "intrusive touching of her genitals and breasts," said her lawyer, John Mills.
According to Mills, Price went over to Kristen Arnberg, her former supervisor, to complain about the pat down. When Arnberg asked what she meant by intrusive, Price demonstrated on her, said Mills.
"She used to be a TSA employee up until 2007, she obviously knows the procedure," said Mills.
According to the police report, Price "did intentionally and without consent grab the victim and slide her hands into the crotch area" of Arnberg.
Mills says that Price and Arnberg did not get along when they worked together.
The police report states that Price "attempted to walk away from the scene" following the altercation, and disregarded a Lee County Port Authority police officer's instructions to stay in the area.
Subsequently, Price was arrested for battery and resisting an officer. She is due in court July 2 on misdemeanor battery charges.
When contacted, Arnberg refused to comment.
Mills says they've turned down all three plea offers and want to take the case to trial.
"She doesn't feel like she's done anything wrong, and I agree with her," said Mills. "We hope to get a not guilty verdict and have her named cleared."
According to Kate Hanni, director of FlyersRights.org, a non-profit airline consumer organization, there is a serious need to address airport security pat down protocol as passengers feel they are being violated.
"Most people don't know how to file a complaint or who we could complain to at the TSA," she said. "We really need to reevaluate who we're hiring and also what kind of training is being given to these TSA agents to bring some consistency to the travel process."
Hanni calls the security screening process at airports "the most degrading, undignified process," and attributes part of the problem to corruption throughout the TSA agency.
"The TSA agents that work for TSA directly," she said. "They virtually have all the job security they need, they almost are never fired unless they're caught doing something wrong."
The TSA at Southwest Florida International Airport has recently come under scrutiny after 42 workers, including the head of federal security, were disciplined earlier this month after an internal investigation uncovered hundreds of random screenings had not been performed last year.
A TSA representative could not be reached for comment.