John A. Christina, 51, of Simsbury, near Hartford, faces a misdemeanor charge of battery causing injury for allegedly punching or jabbing U.S. Transportation Security Administration screener Gregory J. Hutman at Indianapolis International Airport with a closed right fist, Indianapolis airport police said.
"It was very much a joke, and I smiled and he smiled," said Christina, who spent the night in Marion County (Ind.) Jail and faces a Dec. 13 trial date.
Christina, a computer consultant who travels frequently, told The Indianapolis Star he was accustomed to extra steps getting through security because he has two metal hip implants, a colostomy bag and a fused wrist.
Christina said he had just stepped out of the full-body scanner when he asked Hutman what the next step was.
Hutman, 28, of Vandalia, Ohio, near Dayton, said he didn't know the process because he was new to the terminal.
Christina then punched or jabbed Hutman, saying Hutman should know the procedure, the police report said.
"Why did you have to hit me?" the report quoted Hutman as saying.
"I was only kidding with you," Christina is said to have replied.
TSA regional spokesman Jim Fotenos told the newspaper, "Our transportation security officers work on the front lines to protect the nation from a terrorist attack, and physical violence against them is shameful."
Christina said if he had hit Hutman "with any malice or intent, that would have been one thing, (but) that was not my intention."