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Enhanced pat down leaves Grand Rapids airline passenger in tears

1:24 PM, Nov 19, 2010   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Before boarding a flight in Grand Rapids,  a woman says the search at the security checkpoint was violent, unnecessary and extremely upsetting.

"When I got on the plane all I wanted to do was sob," says traveler Ella Swift.

Swift was one of an increasing number of passengers Transportation Security Administration officers are thoroughly searching by hand. They call it an "enhanced pat-down."

Swift says they told her she was singled out because she was wearing a skirt. She says the search earlier this month was very rough and left her in tears.

"The female officer ran her hand up the inside of my leg to my groin and she did it so hard and so rough she lifted me off my heels," she says. "I think I yelped.  I was in pain for about an hour afterwards. It just felt excessive and unnecessary."

After reviewing the incident, a TSA spokesman says officers involved in the Grand Rapids search acted "appropriately and respectfully."

The TSA says people in what they call "bulky clothing" may be singled out for the enhanced pat-down. Some passengers may also be selected for the search at random. The TSA says they have installed full body scanners and added the pat-downs to improve aviation security.

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