A memorable incident in which an Oregon man was arrested for spontaneously stripping in protest during a TSA patdown has come to a conclusion today, with the judge ruling that he did nothing wrong and his protest was constitutionally protected.
The man, John Brennan, was taking a trip from Portland to San Jose, and declined the TSA workers’ call for him to submit to a full body scan. Instead he was given a full patdown, but officials kept hassling him, claiming his clothes tested positive for “nitrates” and he might have explosives on his body.
In protest, Brennan announced that he would “show you I don’t have anything” and took off all of his clothes. Ironically, though this seemed less intrusive than some other things the TSA puts people through, he was arrested for “indecent exposure.”
The prosecution sought to argue that Brennan’s nudity wasn’t a legal protest because he didn’t have any words written on his body or anything. The judge seemed to take the opposite position, that because nothing was written the act of stripping itself was the protest, and that it therefore could not be criminal.