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OffbeatMore airport passengers attacking TSA agents

23:30  08 november  2018
23:30  08 november  2018 Source:   wcnc.com

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Learn more . You're viewing YouTube in English. You can change this preference below. Scary moments in New Orleans as a man fired shots at the city's airport . Police said he attacked security guards as he charged through the airport .

The number of unruly passengers attacking TSA agents at airports across the country is on the rise, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The most recent federal numbers show people physically assaulted roughly three TSA screeners a month in 2017 with about half of the assaults taking place during patdowns or bag checks.

"There have been quite a few assaults in the past few years and it's very troubling for us," TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said. "It's hard to say the reason for it, but it's completely unacceptable."

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A federal judge sentenced Jordan Lee Moore to prison time after pleading guilty to interfering with airport security screening personnel in March 2017. Federal court records show Moore threatened to hurt and kill a TSA agent. Prosecutors labeled his conduct an assault.

While TSA reports it hasn't documented any other assaults in Charlotte in the last five years, in 2017 alone, the federal agency reported 34 assaults across the US, up 30 percent from the year before and that's not counting confrontations that go unreported.

"It is not just physical. There's verbal abuse of the TSA officers on a regular reoccurring basis," American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox said.

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An internal TSA study looked at assaults on airport screeners. Using 2017 data, the agency found more than half of the attacks occurred during a pat-down or bag check. The TSA confirmed it has created a secret watch list to monitor certain passengers who may pose a risk to airport screeners.

TSA's union suggested staffing levels could be a factor.

"There are less officers, which frequently causes lower morale, causes lines to be longer at airports and therefore people get frustrated because they are in lines longer," Cox said.

Despite the increase, TSA maintains assaults are rare, documenting less than one for every 17 million passengers screened in 2017. Still, when they do occur, court records here and elsewhere show the attackers are punished.

"During any cases where our employees have been assaulted, we do work with law enforcement and we will pursue it in the courts," Koshetz said.

TSA told us men between the ages of 41 and 50 are the ones who most often assault TSA officers.

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