Nudists Planning Airport TSA Protest. Cops Planning Arrests.

Categories: Transportation
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In your dreams, TSA
The TSA might just get the chance to make good on its claim that the agency has no problem with people going through the airport security line naked

San Francisco nudist Rusty Mills -- whom you may recall from our recent cover story -- told us he was heartened by the news the feds wouldn't detain him for traipsing through airport security sans apparel in a protest of the Transportation Safety Authority scans (or, perhaps, just because he enjoys being nude in public). He's now working to enlist at least three other nudists for a naked action this week.

So far, he's got two others interested, but needs a third. 

"I think we need at least four participants to make this spoof work," Mills wrote in a San Francisco nudist Yahoo group forum. "Any fewer than that will look to spectators more like a handful of oddballs than a humorous parody of the security procedure. The more people we have participating, the less likely it is that uptight prudes will create a fuss about it."

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Red and Black
Late for a flight?
San Francisco police stationed at the airport have been reading our articles, and say they've been waiting for the nudists to show up. Airport Deputy Chief David Shinn says they will follow the department policy that mere nudity is not grounds for arrest, absent lewd behavior.

Yet police can make an arrest if a citizen signs a citizen's arrest card, and Shinn says he's expecting someone will. "I can tell you there would be complaints made among the thousands of customers here at the airport," Shinn says. "They would call the police and wish to make an arrest -- unlike in San Francisco,  where we have a number of events where people are nude. ... If that would happen, we're willing to respond to complaints."

If such an arrest were made, the case would be investigated by the San Mateo sheriff's department and prosecuted by the San Mateo district attorney, since the airport is technically located in San Mateo county, despite having a San Francisco address.But the San Mateo County district attorney's office tells us it hews to the same interpretation of the California indecent exposure law that San Francisco does.

"If someone takes off their clothes it's not a crime unless they start doing something sexual with their body," says Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. "A man masturbating are generally the cases we encounter, not nudity. If they take it beyond nudity, we'll take a look at the report and see where it goes."

Mills is planning to get a refundable ticket to make it through the security line and then canceling it for a refund before actually flying. But the ultimate word on whether this is going to happen is still, well, up in the air. "It still depends on the participation," Mills says.

If the nudists do make their move, it seems that law enforcement will be more amused than anything else. Wagstaffe laughed over the phone at the prospect.

"That will be an interesting day at the airport."

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