RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - He stripped down at Richmond International Airport to prove a point and then sued after he was arrested. Today, his civil lawsuit went before a judge in downtown Richmond. The federal government wants part of that suit tossed out.
Aaron Tobey claims his rights were violated the day he protested enhanced airport screening procedures last December. Security video shows him being escorted away, moments after he stripped down to his boxers.
The government argued the TSA was doing its job by alerting airport police when Tobey acted unusual at the security checkpoint. But once police took over, the government said it was out of the TSA's hands.
Tobey's attorney acknowledged his client's actions were unusual on December 30th when Tobey stripped down to his boxers at the Richmond airport security checkpoint. But questioned whether Tobey's two hour detainment was reasonable to determine a security threat.
The government said the TSA was only reacting to Tobey's behavior by calling airport police and not to the message on his chest.
Written in black marker was the Fourth Amendment which references protection against unreasonable searches. Tobey was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was later dropped. But Tobey filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming his rights were violated.
Tobey's attorney couldn't say how damaging it would be to his case to have parts of the case thrown out.
"It's hard to tell it depends on his opinion and what he allows in and what he lets go," said Tobey's attorney, Anand Agneshwar.
Local attorney Jason Krumbien sat in the courtroom out of sheer curiosity. He thinks the government will get its way with its motion for dismissal of the federal defendants, including the TSA.
"I think the judge sort of sounded like he did not think the airport police acted remarkably reasonably on the other hand I think he thought the TSA agents acted with remarkable restraint considering in his words very strange and idiosyncratic behavior," said Krumbein.
The judge will make a decision on the federal motion to dismiss in two weeks, in the meantime, he set the trial date for January.
Tobey wants $250,000 in damages and reimbursement for legal fees.