SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A deaf man traveling out of San Francisco International Airport experienced an extensive pat down, and it has since gone viral on TikTok.
Video courtesy of ViralHog LLC
Dan Jarvis is from Australia, and he was traveling to Salt Lake City after vacationing in San Francisco with friends. Jarvis wears a cochlear implant which can be damaged by the scanning devices at security checkpoints. To protect the technology of his implant, Jarvis volunteers for pat downs at security checkpoints.
This time, when the Transportation Security Administration agent proceeded with a pat down, Jarvis says it felt more invasive. In the video, a TSA agent can be seen giving Jarvis an extensive pat down, and the agent focuses heavily on his penis. Though Jarvis was uncomfortable, he proceeded with the pat down because it was required, “I’m always compliant with every country’s regulation,” he said.
Since the video was posted to TikTok it has garnered millions of views and thousands of comments. Though many of the comments are supportive, some users seemed surprised at how Jarvis laughed in reaction to the pat down. “They joked that I was enjoying myself. Unfortunately when you are in a situation where someone, particularly a person of authority, invades your space… In this situation it is out of my control,” Jarvis told KRON4.
Jarvis says it’s always his intention to be respectful of the security process, but this time he worries it went too far. “When he rubbed over my genitals I was awkwardly laughing because I didn’t know how to respond to it. You can see him touch my penis.”
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Jarvis says he was thankful that his friend was with him during the interaction because the friend was able to quietly record the pat down, and he was thankful not to be alone. “I never go in a private room because there are no witnesses. For me I always do it in the open. You don’t know what they intend to do with you,” he said.
Jarvis is now wondering what the TSA process is meant to look like, “Is this the norm? Or did someone go a bit over the top?” he asked. He noted that many people with disabilities may face added barriers when it comes to advocating for themselves, especially in response to a request from an authority figure like a TSA agent.
KRON4 reached out to TSA for a comment on the video, but the office chose not to comment. Instead the agency shared details about pat downs listed on its website:
A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. The officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection, and areas may undergo a pat-down more than once for the TSA officer to confirm no threat items are detected. TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.TSA pat down procedures
In the future, Jarvis hopes this incident will encourage a deeper look at TSA guidelines for pat downs, and clarify if the pat down he received was typical. “He went over four or five times; how many times do you need to determine if that’s a penis or not?”