Skip to comments.Woman 'humiliated' when told to remove bra at federal courthouse
Posted on 10/03/2007 6:22:26 PM PDT by Bean Counter
A Bonners Ferry woman says she was humiliated when security guards at the federal courthouse in Coeur d'Alene told her she'd have to remove her underwire bra to get inside.
Lori Plato said she was going into the courthouse for a court hearing Sept. 20 when the metal detector went off as she passed through security.
"When I walked through, the gentleman said, "'Do you have an underwire bra on?'." Plato said. "I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'You have to remove it.' "
But there was nowhere private to remove her bra, she said. The guards suggested she go out to her car to do it.
Instead, Plato who describes herself as "not petite" said she removed her bra while her husband tried to shield her from view of others in the crowded lobby by holding up his coat.
She said she had to put the bra on a conveyor belt and send it through an x-ray machine.
"After I got through the metal detector and waited for my bra to come through the conveyor belt, one of the security guards said, "'That's a girl,'" Plato said. She thought the guard was making fun of her.
The U.S. Marshal's Service, which supervises security at the courthouse, said Plato was given options and chose not to exercise them. She was told she could have gone to her car or to a neighboring business to remove the bra, U.S. Marshal Patrick McDonald said.
"She's inflating it," McDonald said.
Well something would have to be done for sure. My point was soley to point out the gun would still be detected
I believe this could have all been resolved quite easily by having a female guard pat down and check the underwire bra, determining it is indeed just that. I was checked in this way at an airport - the guard was discreet and apologetic - no harm done - and it was determined I wasn’t packing heat or a bomb. lol.
While a women is basically strip searched to go into our courthouse I bet a few illegal aliens where working in that courthouse.
The guards should of performed a thorough manual check of her upper body. That’s what I’d do.
All right, all right.
Look, she wouldn't be the first woman required to remove her undergarments at a federal building....
Well did it ever occur to you they might not have had one or how about this, perhaps the one they do have was eating, on break or indisposed when this female passed through? The fact is they did give her options and she had a choice although I think the one she took was wrong that is her fault not the guards.
The last time I went to a federal court house (jury duty thankfully) the rule was unless you had proof of internal metal there would be NO beeping going through the metal detector. Anything that might beep needed to go through the x-ray machine, and they had a pretty serious list of suggested items including belts and shoe inserts (being a guy I didn’t wasn’t looking for words like bra but I wouldn’t be surprised). They didn’t want to do any pat downs or any of that, put all your metal in the tray for the x-ray and step through and pray for no noise. And this was before 9-11 and the world getting afraid of terrorists, federal courts apparently are just very intense.
It’s my understanding that a female guard is to *always* be present just for these situations.
The options they gave this woman were to take her bra off in her car or in the building. Quite the option. So, she could have gone out to her car and removed her bra, walking back to the building with arms crossed so as to prevent a sway and embarrassment, or to remove her bra in the foyer as her husband shielded her. They chose the latter.
Again, a female guard could have easily cared for this situation w/o any undue harm.
I'm not really picking on you, but I wanted to read the entire thread before I
flew off the handle responded.
In my county, the Sheriff's Office, by the state constitution, is responsible for security at courthouses (among other things). Our SO of 20 plus 60 plus or minus reserves had one woman deputy. Only one, despite our trying to be all diverse and correct and everything. (She couldn't shoot for toffee, either, but she was in most other respects an excellent officer in whom I had great confidence -- just let me do the shooting, please.)
Though the only court where people routinely had to go through a metal detector and/or be "scanned" was Juvenile and Domestic Relations (in other courts we only got paranoid for special occasions, like telephoned threats or really, really bad guys) there was no way we could always have a woman present.
You may sneer all you like at our balking at paper clips and nail clippers. Both can be used as weapons and as hand cuff jiggerers.
Please remember and understand that our staffing, equipment, and facilities are determined by the County Board of Supervisors. And we have to get it as right as we can everyday, and the bad guys get to keep on trying. If we get it wrong, people bleed. If they get it wrong, they can come back tomorrow having learned from their mistakes. We have found handcuff keys, paper clips and cigarette packages taped to the banister of the stairs by which we conduct people from the holding cells to the court room.
Currently, since the old Juvenile and Domestic Relations court building decided to try to fall down, we are in a "temporary" court house. Security downright STINKS, and it would be easy to pass stuff to a prisoner.
J&DR is the most routinely violent courtroom and the only one where the judges allow/require the prisoners to be brought in in full gear: cuffs, ankle shackles, belly chain. It is the only courtroom where, in living memory, a citizen blew through the metal detector, setting it off, and was tackled trying to enter the courtroom. In her purse was a .38 special snubby. She told us that on the top of her "To do" list for the day was "blow away ex-husband."
It's also the only place where I got a needle-stick going through somebody's purse (when I was a noob and didn't know how to search properly) and as a result had to pay for blood tests for HIV and hepatitis, was unable to give blood for a year, could not get up close and personal with my wife for a year, and could not receive the sacramental blood for a year unless I was the last person making his communion from that cup. No I did NOT sue the lady with needles in her bag, nor did she pay any penalty. But I was out hundreds of dollars because I was a reserve and the government wouldn't pay for injuries sustained in the line of duty.
My point is, if you are tasked with preventing injury inside the courtroom, with taking a bullet for the judge, if need be, if keeping prisoners safe from one another and from angry citizens not currently incarcerated, you develop a different attitude toward beeps in the metal detector and scanner.
Bean Counter: if I had said, "Go on through," I would have gotten my behind fired. It's easy to put the peons on the spot. A better course of action would be to go to the chief or the sheriff or other appropriate honcho.
Nevertheless, this seems to me to have been off the wall. If an underwire set the metal detector to yelping, I would scan the person until I knew where the yelp was coming from. From then it was a judgment call.
It kind of depends on the orders the guards were working under. If the boss had said that a metal detector alarm in every case meant people couldn't come in, well there you are. It's not that easy for a deputy who quit as a matter of principle to find other work.
Increasingly, LEOs and other security folks are being urged NOT to think. When a friend was sued, unsuccessfully but he still had to pay the lawyer, for crippling a bad guy who shot at him first, well, the moral of that story is, if you do your job in a bad situation you will either die or be impoverished.
So whom would you all like to serve as LEOs in these circumstances? Who do you think is going to take the job? If your idea of good citizenship is manfully to stride up to some poor slob and put HIM between the sheriff and yourself, and then pillory him publicly while not complaining effectively and persistently to your representatives, I don't think you can expect much improvement in the quality of Law Enforcement and Security.
Just think for a minute what it means that the Sheriff's Office NEEDED volunteers to get its constitutionally mandated work done. Then think about the relationship between what you expect from LEOs and what you pay them.
Thank you for a professional view of how things work in your area, Mad Dawg. Those of us not in this line of work can never truly know the intricate details of such a job.
The understanding I had is from city law enforcement (at the station) as well as airports but not court house procedure. My source was my brother in law, a former vice cop in Palm Springs.
A friend of mine flies frequently for her job. A woman was not readily available to do a search so a male guard proceeded. When he got to her mid thigh with that metal detector thing she said, “You go any higher and you’ll have to marry me.” to which he laughed and ended the search, waving her through. I mentioned that to the woman who searched me before a flight and she said that men are never to search female passengers.
Again, thank you for the info.
Yes, I shared those options in my post already. I believe she chose the lesser of embarrassing options, by removing her bra in the foyer, but this in and of itself would be challenging knowing she is a larger breasted lady. By going out to the car to remove it (or to a nearby business) she would have to walk back to the courthouse. Being a large breasted lady she would hang low and jiggle/sway her way to the courthouse, or she would do a breast-lock with her arms. Most ladies that wear *over the shoulder boulder holders* aren’t quick to want to remove them in public. ;o)
Okay, so it would *seem* that a female was not around to do a search. Okay. She ultimately complied with removing her bra, sent it through the xray machine, and the guard said, “That’s a girl.” which to me under those circumstances would be humiliating.
I’m just saying it would have been so much easier to have had a female guard there, able to do a search.
I wonder how often this has happened at the courthouse though, because many women wear underwire bras, even those that don’t need the extra support.
And here’s another thought - why do the manufacturers make sports bras for flat-chested women? That has always puzzled me.
Regardless - please have a wonderful day. :o)
I guess you’ll have to take your head off, before you can go through. You can take it off in your car though.
Fair question when referring to one or a few of such incidents.
But, in truth, the entire system of bureaucrats and the bureaucracies they inhabit is a continuous humiliation for the average American citizen. The petty sadism these idiots inflict on millions of us daily is humiliating and sickening. And there is the ever present threat of incarceration and/or loss of property to keep us docile.
It is humiliating that we have to live in fear of petty bureaucrats.
MACHINE GUN JUMBLIES!
why is it always humiliating?
Because that professional plaintiff in Tampa was able to obtain a few hundred thousand from an airline security checkpoint in settlement.
I can never figure out which is worse for a woman, to be searched by a man, or one of those dykey female guards.
No, now she’s getting even. These guys were lazy and incompetent. It’s a federal courthouse, they don’t have privacy screens in a store room somewhere, they don’t have female staff to handle pat downs of women. Come on.
They acted like jerks and now their supervisors are getting phone calls from the press.
Revenge is sweet.
(snip....) yesterday, the U.S. Marshal's Service announced it was adding a changing room -- so people with garments that include metal bits could take them off in private.
Marshal Patrick McDonald in Boise says, "We don't want anyone to be embarrassed when they come to the courthouse."