Local Man Speaks Out Over TSA Airport Pat Downs - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Local Man Speaks Out Over TSA Airport Pat Downs


A local man at the center of a national controversy over airport pat downs spoke out Thursday.

The bladder cancer survivor says he endured a second inappropriate pat down at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Tom Sawyer is fighting the nation's Transportation Security Administration, the same agency that invited him to Washington to talk about the aggressive pat down he endured in Detroit last November.

"You might as well see what I live with. It's just this simple. No big deal, but it has like a little Tupperware seal and that's how it closes. And that's where they caught it in November, they caught the seal off, and then of course I had urine all over me," said Sawyer.

The embarrassing incident landed Sawyer on national television, and later, in a special meeting with the head of the TSA. The meeting ended with promises to better train TSA agents so people with medical conditions are treated with respect.

"Now I'm mad. I don't like what's been going on lately, and this is the second time I've had a problem, when I was assured I wouldn't," say Sawyer.

A second incident at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Sawyer says the agent never let him explain he had a urostomy bag. 

"This time, when he went down, he was getting rough again but then he gave my bags a couple squeezes, and I don't know why. I thought that was so inappropriate. They are not supposed to touch a person's appliance, medical appliance. Some people could get massive infections and literally die," says Sawyer.

Now Sawyer intends to keep the controversy alive until the TSA makes good on it's promise to strike a delicate balance between safety and dignity.

Sawyer has made a complaint to the TSA. He received a generic response, saying the matter has been forwarded to the appropriate customer service manager. But he's not waiting. He plans to contact the American Civil Liberties Union about the matter.

When 6 News contacted the TSA they said they were currently reviewing the case.

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