INDUSTRY FOCUS

Ready Set Tackle

Being a TSA agent at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport doesn’t mean you have to understand the game of football or does it?

On June 18, Tyrese Garner, 19, showed up at Sky Harbor apparently in a bigger hurry than any other passenger to board a flight to—well, by his actions he was going straight to jail. It seems he was in such a hurry to get through the security checkpoint that he rushed several TSA agents, wounding five of them. One agent was seriously injured enough that the person was taken to a local hospital.

Garner pushed through a security checkpoint, and what is generally an orderly procedure, turned to chaos.

“At approximately 9:45 a.m., Tuesday, June 18, multiple TSA officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were attacked by a male individual who attempted to rush through the security checkpoint in Terminal 4. TSOs and officers with the Phoenix Police Department who are assigned to the airport immediately intervened and subdued the individual who was subsequently arrested,” said TSA officials in a press release. “The unprovoked and brazen physical attack against our TSOs is unacceptable. We are grateful for a committed workforce and for the role they play in protecting the traveling public every day. We continue to monitor the safety and health of the TSOs involved in this incident and will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.”

In the video of the attack, he appeared as a football running back; three yards and a cloud of dust. Garner pushed past other passengers waiting in line. He charged through a metal detector into the secure area and punched a female TSA screener, knocking her to the ground. Garner then punched four other TSA screeners as he tried to charge into the concourse.

Several TSA staff finally took Garner to the ground and held him until police arrived.

According to the official report, Garner of Lubbock, Texas, may have some mental health issues. I think that goes without saying. Officers had to take the man to the ground again where they held him until fire department staff arrived and strapped him to a gurney.

After viewing the video, I have to applaud TSA screeners and staff for taking this man down, and acting in a professional manner. Garner was booked on suspicion of criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and five counts of assault.

First of all, the airport security line is no place to practice football. TSA staff do take their jobs seriously, and thank goodness for that. Well done, TSA defense.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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