A TSA screener threw hot coffee over an airline pilot who asked her to stop using foul language in uniform. He was uninjured; the screener was charged with assault. [Daily Mail]

62 Responses to “TSA screener assaults airline pilot”

  1. xzzy says:

    Great, now we’re gonna need the Transportation Security Authority Security Authority to make sure TSA workers aren’t a threat to airport safety. The TSASA is gonna need billions of dollars to do this, of course. 

    Hopefully by the time we get to the TSASASASA the government will have realized the futility of trying to prevent every problem.

  2. Marktech says:

    If TSA staff are not allowed to swear on duty, the terrorists have won.

  3. Mark A says:

    Until we replace all workers with robots, this will happen again. The security corporate structure grinds the soul out of all humans until they turn into an uptight Puritan, like the pilot, or a frayed bundle of nerves, like the TSA worker. It used to be the post office that did it, but from now on people will be going TSA, not postal.

    • Djinn PAWN says:

      I don’t think the pilot was being a *puritan* asking a co-worker to not use the n-word in their place of work, while working, and in uniform. In the public’s eye racist language like that may seem systemic rather than the poor judgement of only one person, so the pilot was right to stand up and say “not in our workplace”. 

      That doesn’t make them a puritan, it makes them responsible – and I think more people need to take this stand.

      • Lobster says:

         There’s something to be said for professionalism. 

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        “racist language”

         So the person using the language was not black?

        • Ipo says:

           And it isn’t racism if a person not pasty white did it. 
            ? 

        • Djinn PAWN says:

          In workplace conversations in public, or when dealing with the public, the n-word is considered a racist word no matter who utters it.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             Is that carved in a wall somewhere or something?

            I don’t think it should be used in the workplace (obviously), but while I personally don’t like it, I don’t think that it’s “racist” for African Americans to use the word.  If it is, then you also must think that Richard Pryor, thousands of rappers, poets etc. are “racist” for using it.

          • Djinn PAWN says:

            Navin – Workplace language is different than entertainment geared at adults. Comparing the language used by rappers and Richard Pryor to a TSA employee at work is like saying TSA staff can strip naked in front of co-workers and children because strippers can do it in adult clubs.

            If the TSA employee wants to use that language then they can cut a rap album, or go do stand up on their own time in the appropriate venue. But when they are in a public place, in a work setting, then yes – it is racist. It’s not about intent, it’s about perception – just like sexual harassment. It’s whether the person(s) hearing the language thinks it’s offensive, not the intent of the offender. 

            And to try and excuse behaviour with “I think it’s ok for one race to use a word and it be racist and not ok for another race” seems to prove my point. It’s a racist word – not only when a different race utters it (like you suggest) but when anyone does.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

            I said it shouldn’t be used in the workplace, perhaps you missed it.  Having said that, it’s by no means “racist” for minorities to use slurs that privileged people use to demean them amongst themselves.

            You’re offering up the classic:  “If I can’t use that language then they shouldn’t be able to either”.

            It’s whether the person(s) hearing the language thinks it’s offensive, not the intent of the offender.

            Really now. Do you also think it’s homophobic when gays use “queer” as well?

          • SamSam says:

            Djinn PAWN: A word doesn’t become racist or not when it’s work-place talk versus home talk.

            And let’s not get into yet another one of those discussions on “if black people can call themselves ___ then I should be able to too.” It’s been talked too death everywhere. There’s a difference between a member of an opressive class using a slur and a member of the repressed class reclaiming the same word. It doesn’t make the word “work appropriate,” but it doesn’t make it racist either.

    • marilove says:

      Um.  All the pilot asked was that an EMPLOYEE of the TSA not use racist language.  Now he’s an “uptight Puritan” because he asked an EMPLOYEE not to use racist language while on the job?  I don’t fucking think so.

      If being told not to use racist language while on the job makes you a frayed bundle of nerves, then you have serious fucking problems.

      • Lobster says:

        This is America, we have the right to say whatever we please.

        We do not have immunity from the consequences of saying certain things.  People seem to forget that part.  It’s kind of like how the right to bear arms doesn’t mean you can shoot into a crowd.

    • Lobster says:

      I intend to fix the problem by programming my CoffeeBot to perform basic security operations.  

    • howaboutthisdangit says:

      Most public-facing jobs, including pilots are concerned with public image and professionalism.  As a uniformed employees who deal with the public, TSA screeners should also be concerned with their image, and many are, but the TSA seems to hire too many people just to fill the uniform, regardless of attitude.

      Frayed bundle of nerves?  No, more like a flunky who couldn’t hold down a job at a more respectable place, like a fast food restaurant.

  4. kartwaffles says:

    Tennessey.

  5. Richard says:

    I’m with the pilot on this one, it’s tough enough to get herded through security (I’m just through it at LAX) without listening to foul language. If TSA workers want to be treated as “professionals” then they’d better act the part.

  6. To be fair, some people can be pretty condescending when asking someone to stop using foul language.

  7. DrunkenOrangetree says:

    We should read the account. There are some potentially troubling elements to this story. He was told to mind his own business, appropriately I think. And then he tried to grab the worker’s badge.

    She could have been cooler. He could have been more diplomatic.

    • Ipo says:

      He was doing that.  He was minding the business of the TSA, just like he gets paid to. 
      (edit: I found out he doesn’t get paid by them.)

  8. James Kimbell says:

    This is a fun story, but we have to be careful getting anything from the Daily Mail. Any story they publish is likely to be skewed, sensationalized, or just made up.

    • Ministry says:

      Thanks.  I very nearly clicked through to the story, but as you’ve pointed out that it’s from the Daily Hate, I needn’t bother; as you say, it’s almost certainly either downright fiction or so editorialised as to be indistinguishable from fiction.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      Haven’t you ever been to “Tennessey”?

      Trivett, of Butler, Tennessey

      Being the Daily Mail I expected at the end for them to say that this would have never happened if Muslim teachers weren’t striking…

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      The only other “news” outlet I can find hosting this article is the NY Post.  Another Newscorp rag.  Until the arrest shows up in a NYPD blotter, I call apocryphal.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      People say that all the time. And yet…I frequently see things at the Daily Mail that show up two days later on BBC.

  9. Guest says:

    Well, the pilot was an “armed pilot” authorized to carry a firearm in the cockpit, and therefore a TSA officer as well. I can understand where he was coming from.

    This is a case of a “cop” actually being a “good cop” and standing up to ones that make the force look bad. And getting assaulted for it.

    “Cop” in quotes because I know TSA officers are not.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      I was going to say, the story says he was a “TSA officer” as well.  Funny how the headline deliberately leaves that out.  Not as boring as TSA on TSA violence, or a scuffle among workers for the same agency….lol.

    • Ipo says:

      From the TSA site:
      To qualify to fly armed, Federal Regulation states that an officer must meet the following basic requirements:
      -Law Enforcement Officers may fly while armed if they have gone through the proper training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
      -Be a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) or a full-time municipal, county, or state LEO who is a direct employee of a government agency.
      -Be sworn and commissioned to enforce criminal statutes or immigration statutes.
      -Be authorized by the employing agency to have the weapon in connection with assigned duties.
      -Have completed the training program, ‘‘Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed.”

      So it seems that the pilot is actually a law enforcement officer. 
      A cop.

      • Guest says:

        Those are the requirements for an LEO to fly armed. Satisfying those requirements don’t make one an LEO.

        An armed pilot is an FFDO and not exactly the same thing as an air marshal: http://www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/ffdo.shtm

        For one, it’s not a paid position.

        • Ipo says:

          Under this program, eligible flight crew members are deputized Federal Law Enforcement Officers authorized by the Transportation Security Administration to use firearms. 
          Federal Flight Deck Officers are cops.

  10. Clark Starr says:

    If the story is true as presented, I’m with the pilot. I don’t want to hear that language while I’m waiting in line. If he could hear it, who else could? Kids? It’s tacky, loutish, and useless. Plus, I’m guessing, they were technically on-duty–so, the way they present themselves is, I think, the business of the travelers they are supposedly protecting.

  11. NoOneSpecific says:

    “Trivett then identified himself as a ‘TSA officer’ – an armed pilot – before trying to grab the ID tags of screener El to get her name.”

    If he grabbed at her first, before the coffee was thrown, this may well be WHY the coffee was thrown. Pretty sure the whole thing gets tossed.

    Would not be surprised if he faces disciplinary action. He should have just kept walking and minded his own business.

    • Lobster says:

       Yeah, funny how they leave out that little detail, that he put hands on her first.

      • Robert says:

        Because the Daily Mail is always highly accurate.

      • Bob Brinkman says:

         Reaching forward to read someone’s identification is not assault, especially when it is work related. Throwing hot coffee on someone? That’s assault. These are the useless wastes of skin who are supposed to make us feel “safe”.

        • Mark A says:

          It is not assault but it is a threatening and aggressive act. She knew that he meant to do her harm  because of this tiny issue.

          • Guest says:

            the n-bomb is a totally innocuous and professional word, however, and the person charged was clearly the victim. You saw it with your own eyes.

      • Ipo says:

        They specifically mention that he identified himself as federal law enforcement officer before “putting his hands on her”. 

        I wonder why he didn’t just pepperspray the fuck out of them before taking their badges.
        This seems suspiciously non-standard.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          TSA officer:

          Trivett then identified himself as a ‘TSA officer’ - an armed pilot – before trying to grab the ID tags of screener El to get her name.

          It’s getting humorous to see the lengths that people are going to avoid saying that he was a fellow TSA employee.

          • Ipo says:

            I don’t know. 
            Is a federal officer, authorised to carry, by the TSA, an employee of TSA? 
            Maybe.

        • Guest says:

          don’t taze me captain

  12. I’m glad you put [Daily Mail] at the end of the post.  Now I know not to take it seriously.

    (US readers: it’s like linking to Fox News.)

    • Ipo says:

       Murdoch. 
      Propaganda in the form of entertainment under the guise of news. 

    • ocker3 says:

      Not Everything Fox produces is horribly slanted, I read a very well written analysis of how Arizona kicking out all the illegal immigrants would ruin their economy (based partly on the fact that they can buy houses and thus pay property tax, helping fund the schools people were complaining that their kids went to). Now, that may be an outlier, but I’ve learned not to distrust Everything they say, just question it really closely.

      • Well, it’s possible that that’s true of the Daily Fail, too.  But the trouble is, how can you tell? 

        The only way of verifying that I can see it to look for it in another paper.  And if you are doing that, the simpler procedure is just not to read the DM in the first place…

  13. Miriam Lynah says:

    First thing I thought of:  Wait, there’s a liquid near the security checkpoint??  Call in the armed guard, there’s been a major security breach!  This is pretty much as dangerous as a beverage gets…

  14. Navin_Johnson says:

    TSA screener assaults TSA officer

    Fixed!

  15. ChristinaWard says:

    I picked up a Slovakian co-worker from the International terminal at O’Hare last week Tuesday. While waiting at the A Gate for over an hour, I listened to the two women, one who was TSA one who was private security, engage in conversation that utilized the foulest of language.

    And as they were the only people in any official capacity nearby, numerous non-native Chicagoans stopped to ask them questions. In every single engagement I witnessed, they were rude, unhelpful and in one case; engaged in racist behaviors. (They mocked the orthodox Jewish family seeking help with a connection/luggage misunderstanding.)

    I was ashamed for my country.  If I want to swear up a blue streak in private; great. But in a public area? When I’m ‘on the job’; nope. It’s never appropriate to use foul language on the job. Unless you’re Lenny Bruce.

  16. donovan acree says:

    It’s kind of disturbing how many people are defending the foul mouthed, coffee slinging, TSA agent. Not only was she in violation of TSA policy by using foul language while on duty she was also charged with assault due to her criminal actions.

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