The right to bare: Tobey, TRI, take on TSA
Aaron Tobey, the 21-year-old Charlottesville native who made headlines in December when he was arrested after stripping down to his shorts at the Richmond International Airport while going through security, revealing the words of the Fourth Amendment written on his bare chest to protest controversial new TSA strip search procedures, could be making headlines again.
The Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney quickly dropped the charges against Tobey, but now the architecture student at the University of Cincinnati and attorneys for the Rutherford Institute, who intervened before the charges were dropped, are suing Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the head of the TSA, and the Richmond Airport.
"Aaron Tobey was arrested for exercising his right to free speech, which is clearly protected under the First Amendment," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a March 10 release. "Tobey was unduly seized by government agents in violation of the Fourth Amendment, despite the fact that he did nothing to disrupt airport routine."
According to the release, Institute attorneys allege that Tobey was arrested and held for questioning without sufficient cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Institute attorneys also argue that Tobey's First Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested because of the content and manner of his protest. Additionally, Institute attorneys charge that federal and state officials failed to adequately train law enforcement officers stationed at RIC, resulting in Tobey's unlawful arrest.