Flier: TSA Locked Me Up for Asking to File Complaint
He sues over 23-hour ordeal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2015 1:36 AM CST
Architect and runner Roger Vanderklok speaks during an interview with the AP Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – A Philadelphia man suing the TSA says he went through a terrifying 23-hour ordeal—just because he asked to file a complaint. Roger Vanderklok, a 58-year-old architect, says he was on his way to run a half-marathon in Miami in January 2013 when TSA agents at Philadelphia International Airport interrogated him about a packet of PowerBars and a heart-monitoring watch in his bag, which apparently resembled bomb-making materials. He says that after he asked how to file a complaint, supervisor Charles Kieser summoned police, and Vanderklok ended up locked in holding cells for nearly 24 hours, unable to contact his wife, who was frantically searching for him. "It's difficult to lose control of your existence. That's what it amounts to," he tells the AP. "I was absolutely terrified."

Vanderklok was eventually charged with "threatening the placement of a bomb" and making "terroristic threats," but when the case went to court in April 2013, a judge acquitted him on the spot after hearing Kieser's testimony, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. The supervisor claimed that Vanderklok had become agitated, jabbed a finger in his face repeatedly, and said he could "bring a bomb through here any day." But surveillance footage showed that Vanderklok stood calmly throughout the encounter, and according to a police report, Kieser originally said a frustrated Vanderklok told him "anybody could bring a bomb in here." Vanderklok says he didn't make either statement. Kieser, who is also named in the lawsuit, is still in his job at the airport, reports 6ABC. (In another controversial case, the TSA detained a wheelchair-bound 12-year-old.)