A 12-year-old girl in a wheelchair was detained for nearly an hour at DFW Airport while trying to get through security.
Shelbi Walser was traveling with her mother on Sunday for a trip that’s become routine. The seventh grader lives with a genetic bone disorder and was on her way to Florida for another rare medical treatment.
She’s never had a problem flying, but this time Transportation Security Administration agents claimed she had bomb residue on her hands.
“It was frightening. I kinda got mad,” she said.
The agents would not allow Tammy Daniels to get close to her crying daughter so she started recording on her cellphone.
“Are you kidding me? We’re going to get you out of here in a second, okay?” she said in the video.
“I said, ‘What do you mean? What did you test her for?’ ‘Oh she tested positive for explosive residue.’ Okay… at that point you would think they would test her wheelchair, but they did nothing. Everything just seemed to spiral out,” Daniels said.
The mother and daughter said a bomb specialist showed up and several agents began talking on their cellphones all while other passengers were speaking up in support of the girl.
“There were people saying, ‘Really? You’re going to do this to her? Y’all have to take her somewhere private where she’s not out in the public and everyone can see her,'” Shelbi said.
Daniels said the agents then suddenly told them they were free to go and offered no explanation about it being a false alarm or anything.
“It was a little much. I don’t know what to learn from this one. Somebody, they need to go back to the drawing board on this one,” she said.
The TSA responded to questions about the encounter with a statement that said in part, “TSA’s mission is to safely, efficiently and respectfully screen nearly two million passengers each day at airports nationwide. We are sensitive to the concerns of passengers who were not satisfied with their screening experience and we invite those individuals to provide feedback to TSA through a variety of channels.”
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