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DALLAS (KRLD) – The former head of the Dallas FBI office says the video of a security meltdown at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport a year ago should serve as a training film.
The security video, obtained by KRLD News, shows Damarias Cockerham of Garland simply moving security belts and walking through an unused metal detector. His brazen act happened directly behind the backs of nearby Transportation Security Administration screeners. The video, shot from five different cameras, shows Cockerham manage to get on an American Airlines plane without a ticket. Police say Cockerham confronted his former girlfriend for four minutes before he was thrown off the plane. Fourteen minutes pass before police showed up.
Former Dallas FBI chief Danny Defenbaugh calls the video chilling. He says it could provide a lesson for security agents around the globe.
“It not only would be a training video, but I would think that every security personnel within the entire air world, both for airport and the airplane security, would want to use this.” he said.
Cockerham is seen approaching the exit from the secure side of DFW International the afternoon of July 26. Dressed in loose pants and a t-shirt, carrying, what appear to be books. As a security guard looks at his cell phone, Cockerham darts from the exit area to an unused metal detector. The detector is only guarded by the same security belts that are used to channel passengers through security screening. Cockerham moves the belt standard and walks through the detector, blending in with the crowd that was already screened. From that point, Cockerham is not visible to the agent guarding the exit, blocked by a panel.
Minutes later, Cockerham is seen entering a jet way, chased by a ticket agent. The agent appears to get on and off the plane twice before escorting Cockerham off the plane and out into another part of the secured area. Almost 14 minutes pass before DFW Airport Police arrive. Appearing agitated, Cockerham tries to brush police away before he is escorted out of the secured area and arrested.
Defenbaugh is deeply troubled by the amount of time that elapsed between Cockerham getting through security and when he is finally arrested. “The problem is, as you can see, this is what has happened over the last two weeks. Fourteen minutes can be more than just a lifetime for a lot of people.” he said.
The TSA, which has refused to release the video, claiming it is part of an ongoing investigation, declined to answer questions. But in a statement, the agency says “In response to this incident last July, DFW made a number of adjustments to checkpoints, including adding glass panel barriers and enhanced passenger routing gates, which were installed at all checkpoints within a month.”
Cockerham pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for a 90-day jail term. He was given credit for time served.
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