Man Sues TSA For $5m After Being Detained For Peanut Butter Joke
A man is suing the TSA for $5m after the US customs agency imprisoned him over a joke about his peanut butter being explosive.
50-year-old Frank Hannibal was arrested at LaGuardia Airport after an ill-timed gag about a jar of Crazy Richard’s peanut butter he was carrying.
In a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, Hannibal describes how the airport screener became confused over the layer of oil on top of his gourmet peanut butter. Hannibal was ordered out of line for a more thorough pat-down, which is when he sarcastically remarked to his wife and six-year-old twin daughters:
“They’re looking to confiscate my explosives.”
Hannibal quickly discovered TSA officials don’t have much of a sense of a humor. He was cuffed and led out of LaGuardia and promptly spent 25 hours in a lockup.
Hannibal has now brought a lawsuit against a TSA worker at LaGuardia and a Port Authority cop. The TSA worker, identified as Edwin Sanchez in court papers, overheard Hannibal and didn’t get the joke. He promptly called the cops, and within minutes Officer Spencer Newman had shown up to lead Hannibal from the airport and charge him with falsely reporting an incident, a felony.
As if that weren’t enough to ruin his day, Hannibal revealed to The New York Daily News that the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in prison just weren’t up to scratch:
“The jelly looked like pus, the peanut butter like God knows what and the bread was hard as a rock.”
Of his arrest and subsequent detention, the peanut butter guru said:
“It sounds laughable now but at the time to be led out of there like a terrorist was unbelievable. My whole life was up in the air. It was a nightmare. My children were overwhelmed. It was crazy.”
As for the peanut butter that started the trouble, Hannibal revealed cops returned his jar after his release.
What do you make of the TSA’s response? A gross overreaction, an honest mistake, or a fitting punishment for a pretty dumb joke?