85-Year-Old Grandmother to Sue TSA After Strip Search at JFK Airport

Published December 03, 2011

| FoxNews.com

An 85-year-old grandmother says TSA agents at JFK Airport in New York humiliated her by strip searching her Tuesday and she plans to sue, The New York Daily News reports. 

Lenore Zimmerman from Long Beach, N.Y., says she was pulled into a private screening room  by security who then proceeded to take off her clothes. 

“I walk with a walker — I really look like a terrorist,” Zimmerman said sarcastically. “I’m tiny. I weigh 110 pounds, 107 without clothes, and I was strip-searched,” The Daily News reports.

Her son Bruce Zimmerman, 53, dropped her off at the Jet Blue terminal for her 1 p.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale, where she lives during the winter. He waited with her until her bags were checked and she was given a wheelchair then left when his mom reached the security checkpoint. 

The grandmother asked TSA  if she could forgo the advanced image technology screening equipment, fearing it might interfere with her defibrillator. She thought that she would just get a normal pat down.

But instead, she says that two female agents strip searched her.

“I was outraged,” said Zimmerman, a retired receptionist.

In the midst of the ordeal, she tried to lift a walker off her lap and the metal bars banged against her leg leaving a bloody gash. 

“My sock was soaked with blood,” she said. “I was bleeding like a pig,” The Daily News reports. 

The TSA agents reportedly did not stop the search process even as Zimmerman asked, “Why are you doing this?” 

The TSA claims the footage does not show any sign of the injury.

The process took so long that she missed her 1 p.m. flight and had to catch a later one.

"A review of CCTV indicates that private screening was requested by the passenger, was granted and lasted approximately 11 minutes," a TSA spokesman told FoxNews.com in a statement. 

"TSA screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy and that occurred in this instance. While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols and one was not conducted in this case," he said. 

Zimmerman's son said he can’t understand why the agents targeted his mom.

“She looks like a sweet, little old lady,” he said. “She’s not a disruptive person or uncooperative.”

Click here for more on this story from The New York Daily News.

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