Man sues TSA, Philadelphia after being detained 23 hours

Thursday, February 5, 2015
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A Philadelphia man has filed a lawsuit against a TSA agent at Philadelphia International Airport and the City of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia man has filed a lawsuit against a TSA agent at Philadelphia International Airport and the City of Philadelphia because of what happened at an airport screening checkpoint just over two years ago.

Roger Vanderklok, who gave his only television interview to Action News, was on his way to run a marathon in Miami, but something in his luggage caught the eye of a TSA screener.

Vanderklok had his usual running gear in his carry-on, including some PowerBars and a watch.

They apparently looked like a possible bomb.

In video surveillance supplied by Vanderklok's lawyer, things seemed to be going well for about 15 minutes as the bags are checked and rechecked.

And Vanderklok appears to be cooperating, even when they lead him to a back area for more screening.

"He didn't raise his voice. He didn't use any profanity. But at some point he happened to file a complaint and it wasn't too long after that the TSA supervisor called police and had him arrested," lawyer Thomas Malone said.

The lawsuit claims TSA agent Charles Kieser called the airport police and had Vanderklok arrested.

"I was scared. I was confused," Vanderklok said.

He spent the next 23 hours behind bars, not even knowing what he had been charged with and unable to contact his wife, who was frantically looking for him.

"I was terrified at the fact that I had kind of fallen off the face of the earth, and that I hadn't had the opportunity to call anybody. I hadn't had the opportunity to use e-mail, and no one who I knew really knew where I was," Vanderklok said.

Vanderklok had never been arrested before.

His lawyer says the TSA agent came up with three different stories about what happened and lied when he testified at Vanderklok's trial.

He said Vanderklok was waiving his hands in the air and claimed he said he could bring a bomb through the checkpoint any time and they wouldn't even know it.

"By the time he testified under oath, he was saying Mr. Vanderklok was pointing in his face multiple times. The video surveillance footage clearly shows that Mr. Vanderklok was standing there holding on to his laptop during the whole incident," Malone said.

The judge acquitted Vanderklok on the spot saying there was no evidence he had committed a crime.

Now he has filed a civil lawsuit against the TSA, agent Kieser, several police officers and the City of Philadelphia.

Both the city and the TSA say they can't comment as long as the matter is in litigation.

Agent Kieser remains on the job at Philadelphia International Airport.