Talk about a fashion crime. LOL. I came across this story a little while ago in Glamour Magazine and the fact alone that a woman got arrested for her jewelry was interesting enough….but then I read the name of the passenger….and it’s one of my good friends!! Poor Tot!! She’s super sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly and they arrest her over a RING (above)!! How ridiculous is that?! Read on for the details.
If you thought removing your shoes was the biggest sartorial distress you’d ever have to face at the airport, think again. We’ve got the exclusive on a story that’s just too wild to be untrue: Tatiana Johnson’s planned trip to Tennessee recently went horribly awry when a three-knuckle ring landed her in a jail cell at LaGuardia Airport!
On May 18, 2011, 24-year-old Tatiana headed to the airport with a good friend, planning to board a plane for her hometown in Tennessee and enjoy a weekend catching up with friends and family. But before she could even think about putting on her iPod and digging into a bag of peanuts, she found herself behind bars, charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree.
“I donâ€™t like wearing too much jewelry to the airport because of the metal detectors, so I usually just wear earrings and my favorite ring when I travel. But May 18 was different,” Tatiana tells us. “As usual, I was told to take off my shoes, hooded sweatshirt, jewelry and was told to put it on the conveyor belt. I did that and walked through the metal detector. Next thing you know, they were asking if the items belonged to me and I said yes. I was told to wait for a supervisor and asked why. I was told by the TSA employee that my ring looked like a ‘weapon.’ I looked at him and said I didn’t understand. I told him I wear this ring all the time, and can assure you that itâ€™s not a weapon. He told me not to worry and someone would be right over so that my friend and I could make our flight.”
But he came back with two more TSA officials, who demanded to see her boarding pass and identification, and called a police officer for backup (We reached out to the TSA for comment, and they told us this was strictly a local police matter–the TSA does not have any law enforcement powers). She offered to let the officers just keep the ring, so she could make her flight, which was now just an hour from takeoff. More police officers arrived–Tatiana estimates five in total–and she was told to wait for the sergeant commissioner. “This is when I felt either Ashton Kutcher was going to come out, or this was really serious,” she says. Unfortunately, she wasn’t being Punk’d: She was placed under arrest and told she was headed to the LaGuardia Airport jail, for traveling with brass knuckles.
Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, informed us that the officers involved looked at Tatiana’s ring and “determined that they were metal knuckles that they deemed to be a weapon. Two different sets of law enforcement saw them as a potential threat.” He says it’s not a federal crime to possess brass knuckles, but that in the geographic area where she was arrested, it is, and the officers acted accordingly.
As for what Tatiana was thinking, she says, “I was shocked and embarrassed, yet still remained calm. The police then put me in handcuffs and escorted me out the building like a stone cold criminal. People looked at me wondering what happened. I was put in the cop car, got to the jail, sat in a cell, was asked to take the laces out of my shoes and sit until it was time to get finger printed, and ‘interrogated.’ I was read my Miranda rights, looked up in the system, then spent another hour in the cell.” Possibly the most frightening part of the whole ordeal? Right after she was ushered into the cell, she was joined by a guy who was being detained for having a handgun on a plane.
Tatiana was finally released at 1pm with a charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree and a ticket for $265.01. The police told her that her lack of a previous record would all but guarantee the charges would be dropped, but she’ll find out for sure when she shows up for what’s known as a “desk appearance” date on June 16–she’ll appear in front of a local judge to determine the punishment. She managed to make another flight later that afternoon, and she and the friend she was traveling with were reimbursed for the expense, but still…
Ron Marsico, the Port Authority spokesman, has some words of advice for travelers: “People going to security checkpoints should be extra vigilant about what could be considered a weapon,” he tells us.