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Runner Detained at Security Checkpoint Files Lawsuit

Posted by: on February, 6 2015

Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Alison Wade

Philadelphia runner Roger Vanderklok filed a lawsuit last week against the TSA, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security over events that happened while he was on his way to a road race.aiport runner security

On January 26, 2013 Vanderklok was on his way to a half marathon in Miami when he got stopped at a security checkpoint by a TSA officer who wanted to search his bag. The officer was particularly interested in the PowerBars and heart-monitoring watch in Vanderklok’s bag, Philly.com reports.

Vanderklok, 57, is a frequent racer who travels all over the country to run half marathons, and as a seasoned veteran, he must have known that it’s always wise to have the items you’ll need for the race in your carry-on bag.

According to Philly.com, PowerBars bear resemblance to a common explosive, and such explosives are sometimes detonated with electronic devices, which led to the agent’s interest in Vanderklok’s running watch.

For approximately 30 minutes, screeners repeatedly checked Vanderklok’s bag. After agents had determined that Vanderklok’s bag was safe, he maintains that he calmly asked to file a complaint. Instead, the Philadelphia Police showed up and placed Vanderklok in a holding cell, where he spent three hours, according to Philly.com, which caused him to miss his plane. He was then handcuffed, taken to a police station and put in another cell.

He spent 23 hours behind bars, reports 6ABC, unable to contact his wife, who was frantically looking for him.

“I was terrified at the fact that I had kind of fallen off the face of the earth, and that I hadn’t had the opportunity to call anybody. I hadn’t had the opportunity to use e-mail, and no one who I knew really knew where I was,” Vanderklok told6ABC.

He was eventually released around 4:00 a.m., when his wife posted 10 percent of his $40,000 bail, reports Philly.com.

At Vanderklok’s trial, the TSA agent involved testified that Vanderklok had pointed in the agent’s face, waved his arms, and said he could bring a bomb through the checkpoint any time and they wouldn’t even know it, reports 6ABC.

Surveillance footage did not back that allegation up, however, as Vanderklok appears to have remained calm throughout. The judge quickly acquitted Vanderklok of all of the charges.

ABC News reports that Vanderklok had been aiming to run 60 half marathons by his 60th birthday, but this event, along with a back injury, had halted his total at 38.