A Texas woman has claimed that the Transportation Security Administration forced her to remove her nipple ring with pliers before she was allowed to board her flight from Lubbock to Dallas. She has requested an apology from security agents and a civil rights investigation.
After Mandi Hamlin passed through a large metal detector without setting it off, a female TSA agent used a handheld detector, which beeped when it passed in front of her chest. When Hamlin told the woman she had nipple piercings, the woman called over male colleagues, and one of the men notified Hamlin that she would have to remove the jewelry. Hamlin said she overheard the male TSA personnel chuckling as she removed the stubborn ring with pliers.
In a separate report, the TSA has admitted that while airport officials appear to have properly followed protocol, the procedures should be changed. In a statement released Friday, the TSA said that it “… regrets the situation in which she found herself. We appreciate her raising awareness on this issue and we are changing the procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”
However, the government agency has yet to apologize, and Hamlin’s Allred has stated that if an apology was not forthcoming, “Mandi is going to have to consider her legal options.”
“The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary,” Allred said. “The last time that I checked a nipple was not a dangerous weapon.” According to the TSA site, a pat-down search is a viable alternative to removing body piercings; Hamlin has said that she would have chosen that option had it been presented to her.
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