TSA defends procedures after disabled Marine claims mistreatment at security check

Marine says he was forced to remove prosthetics

SAN DIEGO - The Transportation Security Administration is defending its procedures after claims that agents mistreated a wheelchair-bound Marine at a security check in Phoenix.

The Marine, a double-amputee from San Diego, was with a group of Wounded Warriors. They said TSA agents made the disabled Marine remove his prosthetic legs -- an allegation the TSA said is a lie.

In grainy TSA surveillance video, the 22-year-old Marine is seen struggling to stand at the end of a nearly 10 minute pat down.

A retired Marine who escorted the group of Wounded Warriors to watch spring training baseball in Phoenix described the experience, saying, "He cannot stand up by himself, and I tried to explain that and they don't want to hear it. I said, 'Man, I'm sorry that has to happen to you.' He just goes, 'Get me the f out of here.'"

Jeff Perez, who is with the TSA, said, "I've watched the video, and at no time did any of our officers make this individual feel humiliated."

The video shows the Marine standing on his prosthetic legs in a full body scanner. The Marines said the TSA would not allow him to go through in his wheelchair, something Perez denies.

"He was treated with respect at all times. As you will see, the video shows all of that," said Perez.

The low-quality video released by the TSA only shows two different angles and does not include audio. The video did not capture the moments before TSA agents allegedly made the Marine stand against his will. The video shows a process that took 8 minutes and 41 seconds.

"We can't make exemptions to anybody. We have to follow policies and procedures and that's how we do it here," said Perez.

The TSA stressed that they have protocols in place for Wounded Warriors if they are given advance notice.

Otherwise, they will have to go through the same security steps as everyone else.

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