Man Sues TSA For $5 Million Following Peanut Butter Arrest
24 hours in a cell for joking about sandwich spread
Feb 11, 2013
An Arizona man who was arrested at the behest of the TSA, following a wisecrack over a jar of peanut butter is suing the federal agency for $5 million.
Frank Hannibal, 50, was detained and dragged from LaGuardia Airport recently by police after a run-in with TSA agents over the jar of gourmet sandwich spread.
“The liquid oil that separated from the peanut butter had them baffled,” Hannibal told the New York Daily News.
Hannibal then commented to his wife and children that “They’re looking to confiscate my explosives,” as TSA agents inspected the 16-ounce jar of “Crazy Richards” chunky peanut butter.
TSA screener Edwin Sanchez, overheard Hannibal’s remark, did not see the funny side, and immediately called the cops, according to the court complaint.
Hannibal spent the next 24 hours in a cell, during which time he was fed a peanut butter sandwich by cops who later charged him with the felony of “falsely reporting an incident”.
“It sounds laughable now but at the time to be led out of there like a terrorist was unbelievable,” Hannibal tells the Daily News. “My whole life was up in the air. It was a nightmare. My children were overwhelmed. It was crazy.”
Hannibal has brought a $5-million-dollar lawsuit against the TSA worker and the Port Authority officer who arrested him, all over a $7 confectionary which was returned to him upon his release from jail.
“It’s a sorry state of affairs in this country when sarcasm is considered a felony,” his attorney, Alan D. Levine of Queens, noted, adding that TSA agents need to act with common sense in such situations.
This is not an isolated incident. The TSA has a history of concentrating on looking out for cakes and pies, as well as sauces, oils and vinegars.
The Homeland Security agency has also instituted a crack down on candy and cupcakes.
At the same time, people are routinely waltzing through security lines with swords, knives, explosives and guns. Many agents are too busy groping women and searching old people’s diapers to bother checking passports and flight passes.
Still, it’s good to know that the government is keeping Americans safe from sandwich wielding jokers.