D.C.

Dr. Bernard Arons handcuffed at D.C. Superior Court

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Dr. Bernard Arons showed up to the D.C. Superior Court as required by a court summons, but just seconds after he tried to pass through a security check-point, he was stopped.

This is the radio court security thought was a bomb. (Photo: Mark Segraves)

"Suddenly they started shouting everybody out of here," Arons said.

Something in his briefcase had caught the guards' attention.

"Three or four security guards surrounded me and told me to put my hands behind my back," he said. "Then they handcuffed me."

Arons rode his bike to court that day. Not wanting to leave his radio on his bike, he took it off and tried to take it in the court house.

Security thought the radio could have been a bomb.

For about 15 minutes, Arons--who is the medical director at St. Elizabeth's Hospital--remained handcuffed while security took apart his radio. He said handcuffing him is where the guards crossed the line.

Another juror who was stopped by security for trying to bring in an electric razor agrees the guards went too far.

"If he wasn't being hostile, if he was submitting to what they said, I couldn't see handcuffing him," the juror said.

But others think security did the right thing.

"It's possible they went too far, but rules are rules for a reason," said Chantel Rollins, of D.C.

Arons complained to Chief Judge Lee Satterfield who defended the guards' actions.

The judge wrote Arons was treated with respect and dignity by court security.

While Arons didn't get the apology he was looking for, the judge did acknowledge Arons was not a terrorist.

"This was an unfortunate incident as in hindsight it was clear that you were not and are not a threat," the chief judge wrote in a statement.

Security experts say it is a standard practice to handcuff anyone who may have a bomb so they can't detonate it while they're being searched.

"I was in the Capitol in the 1998 shooting and I'm a VA. Tech grad, so I live life knowing things can happen and if I have to give up some security to make sure it doesn't happen to me, I'm OK with that," said Karen Smith, of D.C.

 

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