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It was ‘painful’

McCaskie considers legal option in wake of MIA ordeal

What was expected to be a routine journey for Barbadian dentist Dr Anthony McCaskie turned into a virtual nightmare at Miami International Airport (MIA) on Monday evening, as security officers extracted him from American Airlines flight 2393 shortly before takeoff.

Dr McCaskie was returning home after completing an orthodontic course in Miami when the unthinkable happened, leaving him to ponder his legal options and his family outraged.

 Dr McCaskie

Dr McCaskie

“I feel very badly about it. My son was not stealing anything. Anthony visited Miami to attend a course and decided to bring home some items and they harassed the man,” his mother Alva McCaskie told Barbados TODAY this evening.

“My son is more Christian than me now. I brought him up in the Christian faith . . . The plane was delayed because of his arrest. It is not fair to my son,” she said, adding that she had spoken with her daughter-in-law Deborah about the ordeal.

Dr McCaskie was detained after his carry-on luggage was flagged as suspicious at security and sent for a second check but was released without further investigation. When the first security station realized the discrepancy, authorities closed two security checkpoints and launched a hunt to find which flight he had boarded.

Barbados TODAY can reveal that the source of the security scare was nothing but dental detachable cable tubing used to clean teeth.

Up to 50 flights were delayed for hours, traffic was backed up outside the airport terminal and armed police in riot gear stormed the aircraft and ordered passengers to put their hands on their heads.  Dr McCaskie was extracted, detained, questioned and eventually allowed to leave.

“It was with a sense of shock that I reacted after being apprehended by law enforcement officers at the Miami International Airport on Monday,” he told Barbados TODAY from his office at St Michael Row, The City.

“On Monday evening November 9  2015, I was apprehended, investigated and searched by police and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials having boarded American Airlines flight 2393 on my scheduled return to Barbados after having completed an orthodontic course. The suspicious item was a dental replacement part in my backpack. This same backpack was checked twice by Transportation Security Administration scanners. I was certainly the most shocked person when I was arrested,” he indicated, reading from a prepared statement.

The dentist said he was happy to be home after the “painful” ordeal, and was considering his legal options.

A passenger aboard flight 2393 told Barbados TODAY this evening that while it was the first time she had had such an experience “it was not terrifying”.

She said between eight and ten armed security officers boarded the aircraft in search of Dr McCaskie who cooperated with them.

“They all carried their weapons but they [the weapons] were still in their holsters as far as I could see. We knew that they were coming on board because it was announced that they were checking each aircraft individually,” said the passenger, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity.

Miami Airport spokesman Greg Chin said in addition to the delays nine flights were diverted, and some travellers missed their flights.

Miami-Dade Police initially responded to the investigation before it was later turned over to the FBI.

On Tuesday, the TSA sought to clarify the incident, explaining that security officers had allowed Dr McCaskie through the screening area before searching his bag.

“In the process of transitioning other passengers to an adjacent screening lane, standard procedures were not adhered to and the passenger was allowed to depart the checkpoint and proceed into the terminal,” said TSA spokesman Mark Howell.

Howell said a manual inspection was done and officers determined there was no threat. He added that the agency was reviewing its response to the incident.

The Miami Herald reported that there was such a back up of traffic that passengers said they got out of cars and walked to the ramp with their luggage.

Passengers on board the flight filmed the moment the Dr McCaskie was ordered to stand and be handcuffed, with SWAT team officers interrogating him.

Meanwhile, the US embassy here has referred Barbados TODAY to US Customs and Border Protection at Miami International Airport. In response to a request for a comment, an embassy spokesman said, “Embassy Bridgetown does not comment on matters occurring at Miami International Airport”.

6 Responses to It was ‘painful’

  1. Peachesnaddy Brown
    Peachesnaddy Brown November 13, 2015 at 3:19 am

    So what get over doc the ppl were only doing their job if that had happened here in Barbados everyone would be defending the country if you’re a suspicious person no matter who or where you from its their right to check you at least they didn’t take off your clothes

  2. Bajan Man November 13, 2015 at 8:57 am

    He is not upset and it’s not a matter of “so what get over it”. The same bag with the same device was checked by officials and he was allowed through.

    According to the article it was the officials at the second checkpoint who decided not to investigate. So far from the officials only doing their job, it appears they didn’t in the first place. So the doctor has all right to be upset and seek recourse. Had the officials at the second checkpoint done their job and investigated as the first checkpoint had indicated then the whole situation could probably have been avoided.

    So it’s not a matter of if it was Barbados people would be defending the country. It’s a case of not one but two checkpoints giving him the green light. The bigger question and here worry should not be about how long it took and how much time he would have had to do anything if he really was a terrorist.

  3. st.clair Worrell November 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Some ppl hide behind Aliases and spout real ignorance…next to lava. Like this Peachesnaddy sh…t. What infraction did the goodly Dentist commit.. As far as l can tell it seem that he followed proper procedures… Any fault would have to be the careless Security Officers.. Maybe they should be the ones that should have been humiliated for not doing an efficient job.. Certainly not the Dentist.

  4. Andrew Rudder November 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Some critics should be well versed in reading skills before voicing opinions. Dr. McCaskie was falsely targeted by a Security department and through that mistake Federal Government had to double up its manhours to correct the situation both on the ground and in the air-space. High way teraffic was detained. Inconvenince to other passengers occured not due to his behavior or wrong doing. Be mindful of other persons wrongful detainment or arrest. It could be you next time around!

    • Donild Trimp November 13, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      There was no wrongful detainment or arrest in this matter.

      It is unfortunate that the good Doctor had to endure what happen to him. Mark it down as an honest mistake by the screener at the check-in point.

      It is better to err on the side of caution in these matters.

      Think about it, when you are up in the air at 33,000 ft in that iron coffin and a bomb goes off, there is only one outcome – EVERYONE ENDS UP LOSING.

      In this particular instance, everyone won.

      Give it a rest people.

      • Olutoye Walrond November 14, 2015 at 12:29 am

        I really don’t know what the fuss is about here. An error was made and was corrected, all allbeit at the inconvenience of an innocent person.

        As you said it’s better to err on the side of caution. These are not easy times in which we live.

        P.S: For someone approximating the name Donald Trump, you display remarkable common sense.


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