Woman Detained at Airport Tells Her Story

Indiana University professor says armed federal officers’ invasion of her privacy a “complete assault on my freedom as an individual, citizen, author and academic.”

Affiliate: ACLU of Indiana
May 4, 2015 12:30 pm

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INDIANAPOLIS – A woman who was detained and questioned without cause at Indianapolis International Airport has released her story about the events that transpired nearly three years ago, which prompted a lawsuit challenging the federal government for violating her constitutional rights.

Christine Von Der Haar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University, in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in February 2014, said armed Custom and Border Protection officers took her into a room for questioning while they also questioned her friend for almost six hours in another location. Von Der Haar said the officers, who blocked her exit during the examination, said, “We have been reading your emails for a year.” She also said that officers’ questioning constituted an “off-the-books interrogation” that was deeply personal and invasive.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Von Der Haar’s story, “Secrets, Lies and Cover-Ups: How the Government Spied on Me and (Almost) Got Away With It,” is online at http://www.aclu-in.org/news/36-news-with-photos/319-woman-detained-at-airport-tells-her-story. The ACLU of Indiana and Von Der Haar reached a settlement and the case was dismissed on April 13.

“This case raises troubling issues about the power of the government to secretly investigate, detain and question citizens,” said ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney Kelly Eskew, who represents Von Der Haar.

The lawsuit, Christine Von Der Haar v. United States, 1:14-cv-00247-JMS-DML, was dismissed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on April 13, 2015.

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