Deaf Passenger Alleges Mistreatment at Louisville International Airport

Updated at 5:38: The TSA's official response:

“TSA has not been contacted by this passenger. TSA is conducting a thorough review to determine what, if anything, occurred.  TSA holds its employees to high standards and is committed to treating all passengers, including those with disabilities, with respect and courtesy at all times. The agency works with a coalition of more than 70 disability-related groups to better understand the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities and medical conditions.”

Updated at 1:26 pm: It'll be difficult for the TSA to proceed with an investigation because the blog is no longer active and it's unclear who the individual making the allegations is. TSA officials did not want to comment while so many questions are left unanswered.

A passenger visiting Louisville for the National Association of the Deaf's biennial conference is claiming Transportation Security Administration agents at Louisville International Airport called him names and ate his candy after not allowing it through the security check point.

WFPL has requested comment from the TSA, and officials say they'll respond as soon as possible.

The story gained attention after blogger “Tea and Theatre” wrote about his experience online. That site has since been unavailable but several online sources grabbed and printed text from the post.

Boing Boing provides the following except:

While I was going through the TSA, some of them started laughing in my direction. I thought it might’ve been someone behind me, but I found out otherwise.

They went through my bag (for no reason), and found a couple bags of candy I brought. I was told I wasn’t allowed to fly with that (wtf? I’ve flown with food before — these were even sealed still because I brought them right in the airport). I was then asked if I would like to donate the candy “To the USO”. Since I know the airport there has an Air National Guard base, and I figured it would go to the soldiers, I (annoyed) said sure, why not?

The guards, as I was getting scanned, started eating the candy they just told me was for the soldiers. In front of me, still laughing at me (very clearly now). One of them asked why they were laughing, and one of them came up to me, pointed at my shirt, laughed at me and said, “Fucking deafie”. The Louisville TSA called me a “fucking deafie” and laughed at me because I was deaf, and they expected wouldn’t say anything back (or wouldn’t hear them). Make no bones about it — she was facing me and I read her lips. There was no mistake. I would later find out that they had called at least 4 other individuals the same thing.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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