A man headed to Miami from the Philadelphia airport in early 2013 was arrested and charged for ‘terroristic threats’ after requesting a form to file a complaint against the TSA. Now, after being vindicated at his criminal trial, Roger Vanderklok is filing some litigation of his own.
Vanderklok had attempted to make his way through a TSA checkpoint back on January, 26 2013 with a carry-on bag that included among its contents a package of PowerBars and a heart-monitoring watch but one TSA employee got suspicious.
For 30 minutes, the bag was checked and rechecked again.
Agents were weary because PowerBars ‘resemble a common explosive’ and terrorists often use small electronic devices, like watches, to detonate explosives.
Once the items were deemed harmless, Vanderklok says the supervising TSA agent, Charles Kieser, became confrontational. Vanderklok says he calmly asked to file a complaint and waited while someone was supposedly retrieving the proper form.
Instead, Kieser summoned the Philadelphia Police. Vanderklok was taken to an airport holding cell, and his personal belongings, including his phone, were all confiscated by police who then proceeded to ‘investigate’ him.
Vanderklok was detained for three hours in the holding cell and consequently missed his plane. Then he was handcuffed, taken to the 18th District at 55th and Pine and placed in another cell.
He says that no one, neither the police officers at the airport nor the detectives at the 18th, told him why he was there or on what charges he was being held.
Vanderklok didn’t find out until he was arraigned at 2 a.m. that he was being charged with “threatening the placement of a bomb” and making “terroristic threats.”
His bail was set at $40,000. He was picked up later that morning by his wife.
Now, one might think that certainly Vanderklok must have made some aggressive threats or actions to warrant being arrested.
Agent Kieser testified under oath at Vanderklok’s trial on April 8, 2013 that Vanderklok was being aggressive, loud, was waving his arms in the air, pointing his finger in agents faces and proclaimed, “Let me tell you something. I’ll bring a bomb through here any day I want… and you’ll never find it.”
Airport surveillance videos show nothing of the sort however. In other words, TSA supervisor Charles Kieser is a complete liar.
The footage shows Vanderklok standing calmly with his laptop computer tucked under his arms and his hands in front of him for the entire time of the incident.
He follows TSA agents without confrontation as they move from one part of the screening area to another. Not once does he raise his hands nor does he point a finger in anyones face.
Neither Kieser nor the other TSA agents appear alarmed about any supposed bomb threat and in fact chat and laugh with one another behind a desk as they check their cellphones. None of the protocol for dealing with a possible bomb in an airport was initiated.
Also, there are ‘inconsistencies’ with what Kieser testified to in court and what he told police. The police report reads that a angry Vanderklok told Kieser, “Anybody could bring a bomb in here and nobody would know,” not “I’ll bring a bomb through here… and you’ll never find it.”
The second statement is a threat. The first is an opinion, protected by law. Vanderklok says he made neither.
At trial, Kieser was the first and only witness to testify. Vanderklok was acquitted of all charges within minutes.
Last week, Vanderklok filed a civil suit against the TSA, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that he was willfully deprived of his liberty because he had the gall to say that he wanted to file a complaint.
Neither the city of Philadelphia nor the TSA returned Police State Daily requests for comment.
“I was scared to death. I have never been arrested in my life, never had handcuffs put on,” Vanderklok said of his ordeal Wednesday. “Throughout the night, I was in a dark place; no one knew where I was. I thought, ‘I could fall off the face of the earth right now, and no one would know it.'”