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Tennessee mom arrested at airport screening defends actions

July 31st, 2011 9:02 am by Staff Report

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Clarksville mother charged with disorderly conduct after she berated Transportation Security Administration officers who were trying to pat down her teenage daughter is defending her conduct.

Andrea Abbott provided a statement to The Tennessean through her attorney, Brent Horst.

It reads, "The officer was rude and bullied me. He had no intention of resolving the problem and assisting in the situation, but his solution was to put me in jail and threaten to put my daughter in foster care. I was simply trying to protect my daughter."

According to an account of the July 10 arrest in police records, Abbott first refused a body scan for her daughter and herself, saying she didn't want "someone to see our bodies naked."

TSA Officer Karen King then came to do a pat-down, but according to King's affidavit, "(Abbott) started to yell that she had already been screened and that I was not going to grab her daughter's crotch."

King told her that was not part of the pat-down, but Abbott continued saying that King could not touch the 14-year-old.

The TSA officers then called airport police and Officer Jeffery Nolen told Abbott she would have to allow the pat-down or be escorted out of the secured area.

Abbott eventually let her daughter be screened but then refused to be patted down herself, cursing and telling the officers, "I'm done with you people," according to the police report.

Abbott was arrested and the teenager was escorted to her gate by airport police. The girl was flying from Nashville to Baltimore by herself and her mother had only been with her to accompany her to the gate.

Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard said Nolen "followed procedures and tried to work with (Abbott), who was not cooperative and verbally abusive."

Abbott will appear in Davidson County General Sessions Court on Monday.

Defense attorney Horst said he believes Abbott was arrested for expressing her opinion.

News of Abbott's arrest prompted hundreds of people from across the country to contact The Tennessean in support of Abbott. Many of them asked how to donate money to her legal fund.

Horst is defending her for free.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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