Ronnie Polanecsky had a blood-boiling story in the Feb. 4 Philadelphia Daily News concerning Roger Vanderklok who was arrested at the behest of the Philadelphia International Airport TSA when he asked to file a complaint against them.
Vanderklok, a Philadelphia architect, was flying to Miami on Jan. 26, 2013 when an x-ray scanner picked up suspicious items at the Terminal B station supervised by Charles Kieser, Ms. Polanecsky reports.
The items were a heart-monitoring watch and a packet of PowerBars. Vanderklok was asked if he had anything organic, and not realizing the PowerBars were considered as such, said no.
Organic matter can resemble explosives.
His bags were searched and 30 minutes later the items were deemed harmless. Vanderklock said if he had been told what “organic” meant the aggravation could have been avoided. Kieser became confrontational and Vanderklock asked to file a complaint.
Kieser left and returned with Philadelphia Police officers. Vanderklock was taken to an airport holding cell then to the 18th District at 55th and Pine streets where he was placed in another cell.
He didn’t learn the charges against him until his arraignment at 2 a.m. when he was told that he was being charged with “threatening the placement of a bomb” and making “terroristic threats”. His wife bailed him at at 4 a.m. on 10 percent of $40,000 bail.
Needless to say, he missed his flight.
Kieser testified under oath, at the April 8, 2013 trial that Vanderklok became agitated, waved his hands and said “I’ll bring a bomb through here any day I want and you’ll never find it,” reports Ms. Polanecsky . Unfortunately for Kieser, airport video showed Vanderklok smiling and no disturbance taking place. Further, Kieser, in his initial statement claimed Vanderklok said “Anybody could bring a bomb in here and nobody would know”, which unlike the former statement is a legal expression of opinion.
Municipal Judge Felice Stack acquitted Vanderklok of all charges within minutes of Kieser’s testimony.
For the record, Vanderklok denies making either statement.
Vanderklok filed suit last week against the TSA, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security on the grounds that he was willfully deprived of his liberty because he wanted to file a complaint.
Hope he hits them hard.
The scary thing is that Kieser is still on the line overseeing screening, according to the story. If you want America to be America guys like this have to be held to account.