Man arrested by TSA for peanut butter; sues for $5M

A TSA agent in New York’s LaGuardia Airport ordered a passenger out of line for special inspection because of a jar of peanut butter.
The passenger, Frank Hannibal, had a jar of Crazy Richard’s gourmet peanut butter, which being gourmet, had a layer of oil above the peanut butter.

Frank HannibalFrank Hannibal and his peanut butter

John Marzulli and Corky Siemaszko report for the New York Daily News, Feb. 8, 2013, that Hannibal, a New Yorker, made a sarcastic joke to his wife and twin 6-year-old daughters: “They’re looking to confiscate my explosives.”
The TSA agent, Edwin Sanchez, overheard the remark and called the cops.
Minutes later, Officer Spencer Newman slapped the cuffs on Hannibal and charged him with falsely reporting an incident, a felony.
Hannibal spent the next 25 hours in a lockup, where the prison chow consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As described by Hannibal, “The jelly looked like pus, the peanut butter like God knows what and the bread was hard as a rock.”
Hannibal was eventually allowed to leave.
Although the Queens district attorney declined to prosecute him, Hannibal is suing the TSA agent and the arresting Port Authority cop for $5 million, filing his complaint in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Hannibal 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.”
Hannibal said conditions in the lockup were deplorable and he was threatened at one point by another prisoner over the use of a pay phone.
The TSA prohibits passengers from carrying on liquids in containers larger than three ounces to prevent the possibility of a liquid explosive being brought aboard a jetliner.
Hannibal’s lawyer, Alan D. Levine of Queens, said all this could have been avoided if airport authorities exercised some common sense: “It’s a sorry state of affairs in this country when sarcasm is considered a felony.”
I hope Hannibal wins the lawsuit!
~Eowyn

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Wil Ferch
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Wil Ferch

Normally I would agree with the premise of your report….but honestly…..there are numerous CLEARLY LABELLED signs at such check-point areas….to NEVER….not even as a joke ( *especially* as a joke), make a “bomb” or “explosives” comment.
You don’t have to be a seasoned traveler to figure this out. I wish him all the luck in his lawsuit, but he simply used very bad judgment here.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

True, making terrorism jokes in the airport is specifically frowned-upon… but (TSA being dumb) that’s not the specified pretext used to jack the guy up. (Sorta like busting someone solely for “resisting arrest” because the charges will be dropped without a predicate offense just so you can legally use “Rodney King” as a verb in the interim… intimidation/hassle factor, you bet.)

igor
Guest
igor

more obamanation

ASLEEP NO MORE!
Guest
ASLEEP NO MORE!

NO common sense! Keep in mind, he said this to his WIFE in a SARCASTIC MANNER, NOT to ANYONE else…..so much for free speech. :/ Another example of how political correctness is a mental disease.

Wil Ferch
Guest
Wil Ferch

Wait a minute….. is the point being lost? I’ve seen signage for many, many years, advising not to JOKE about this, yes, to your travel partner and not to the security officer necessarily. Yeah,…even to your wife. You are courting trouble for saying “bomb” or “Weapon” while in-line…..nothing at all about political correctness. In this example, sorry….the guy in line was wrong as this is nothing new !!

japoa
Guest

Do you actually expect common sense and logic from airport authorities and t.s.a.hacks ? Although Hannibal could have used a bit of common sense also . Saying the word ” bomb ” in an airport wasn’t the smartest thing to do .

Wil Ferch
Guest
Wil Ferch

Exactly….long before the time of TSA….the signs in-place always said do not even joke about using the words “weapons” or “bomb”, as it will have repercussions. I guess some people “never got the memo”. I agree in principle to most of the postings I receive from this web source….but I have to part company here, again saying he used incredibly bad judgment.

ferreteur
Guest
ferreteur

Ohhh NUTS!

TPR
Guest
TPR

Love the photo & the look on Hannibal’s face, which says it all!
The airport signs are “puppy dog training” to see how much travelers will swallow & obey w/o question. I see many commentors here are “well-trained.”
If a real terrorist/bomber were in an airport, he would be the last to give himself away by speaking of bombs/explosives, etc. So the signs make no sense in reality.
I hope Hannibal wins, too.

Matt
Guest
Matt

just proves that our nation is becoming more and more like a communist nation, guilty until proven otherwise

Vic Bailey
Guest

This just proves that these punks that work for the TSA and the New York Police are nothing but worthless MORONS that have nothing better to do than blow everything out of proportion, because they are NOT smart enough to make a common sense call, because they don’t have any common sense! They want to get their picture on the TV! All these people that are cops and TSA workers, are people that falied the postal exam! Semper Fi.

Robert S.
Guest

I can definitely understand both sides of the story, however I’m leaning towards law enforcement’s side. Making a joke of such a nature, especially after 9/11, is not a smart move. And if someone hears it, they may take the threat seriously (as in this case).

Nina
Guest
Nina

Hope he wins. He is right. There is no common sense left in this country and they are trying to condition us to accept a totalitarian dictatorship and get used to having no rights. He is correct to sue the man in the uniform for deprivation of rights and false arrest. eNOUGH is ENOUGH!

Laserboy
Guest
Laserboy

T.S.A. = Terrorists Subgating Americans

Antoniome
Guest
Antoniome

To say this guy used bad judgement is more deplorable brainwashing.
The people who used bad judgment are the cop and idiot TSA guy who called the cops. If they thought he had a bomb they should do their job and take away his explosive peanut butter. And the cop could use common sense when he arrives also. But both of the guys got a badge and they like to throw people on the ground cuff them. They get off on it.