TSA’s Worst Nightmare Continues: Phil Mocek Now Suing for Civil Rights Violations

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Keegan Hamilton
Seattle Weekly

Remember the case of Seattle’s Phil Mocek, the guy who tried to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Albuquerque airport in November, 2009 without a valid ID? The 37-year-old software developer and political gadfly not only ended up missing his flight home, but was also slapped with a quartet of misdemeanor charges, all four of which were eventually dismissed in January after recordings proved that airport officials made false claims about Mocek’s behavior during the incident. But Mocek’s acquittal, it seems, isn’t the end of his story. He’s now planning to sue the City of Albuquerque, their Aviation Police, and, eventually, the TSA for alleged civil rights violations.

Reached by phone this morning, Mocek explains that while his arrest and trial raised awareness about the flimsy legal justification TSA cites to require passengers to show their ID and prevent audio and video recordings in the airport, his ultimate goal is to change the government’s policy on the matters. A lawsuit, he believes, is the best means to that end.

“I was wronged in this situation,” says Mocek, who is also active with Seattle’s Cannabis Defense Coalition. “And if what has happened puts me in a position of getting a court to take a look at what the TSA is doing and possibly force them to change the way they do things, it would be irresponsible of me not to do so.”

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