PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a former college student’s bid to sue federal agents after he was has stopped at an airport for several hours and handcuffed over Arabic language flashcards he was carrying four years ago.
Nicholas George said the Transportation Security Administration and FBI agents violated his constitutional rights during the August 2009 stop at Philadelphia International Airport.
A district judge rejected the agents’ assertion of immunity, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed Tuesday, saying the agents were justified in detaining him briefly to investigate.
Chief Judge Theodore McKee said they couldn’t “turn a blind eye to someone trying to board an airplane carrying Arabic-English flashcards with words such as ‘bomb’ and ‘kill.’”
ACLU attorney Benjamin Wizner says the decision could be appealed to the full 3rd Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court and didn’t affect legal action against Philadelphia police or the federal government.