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80-year-old woman strip-searched

July 2, 2002 at 4:54 PM   |   Comments

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 2 (UPI) -- The daughters of an 80-year-old great-grandmother said Tuesday that their mother was strip-searched at Gerald R. Ford International Airport after her knee replacement set off metal detectors.

Mary Jane Price was headed home to Florida after visiting family members when security personnel directed her into an employee break room where she was ordered to pull down her pants and lift her blouse to prove she was not wired with explosives.

"What upsets me is how it was handled," Price's daughter, Kim, said. "Does an 80-year-old elderly woman pose any type of threat as to having to give her a strip search?"

Kim and her sister, Bonnie, accompanied their mother to the airport Saturday. When Mary Price went through the metal detector, her jewelry and knee replacement apparently set off the equipment. Security guards used a wand for a secondary screening and it also beeped.

Bonnie Price said the screener then said she would have to conduct a strip search and sought help from a second screener.

"When the first security guard called for the second guard, the first thing out of the second guard's mouth was, 'Where are we going to do this?'" Kim Price said, indicating screeners had no procedure to follow.

Bonnie Price said while the strip search was being conducted, a man walked into the break room "because they didn't even lock the door!"

The sisters said their mother was humiliated by the incident, and they are demanding an apology.

The screeners at Ford airport work for Globe Security, which is still handling security until the federal government is able to replace the private company with federal employees.

WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, said the new head of federal security for the airport said the incident is under investigation.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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