Self-proclaimed “peanut butter snob” Frank Hannibal is suing the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after he made a joke that explosives were hidden in a jar he was carrying through LaGuardia Airport.
Hannibal, 50, was detained for 25 hours after the peanut butter aficionado made the joke in front of a TSA officer.
The former New Yorker is suing a TSA worker and Port Authority officer for $5 million after he was arrested for making the peanut butter joke.
The sticky situation began when Hannibal was being screened at LaGuardia and a TSA officer noticed a layer of oil on top of the $6.99 jar of Crazy Richard’s peanut butter Hannibal was trying to get through security. The TSA officer then pulled Hannibal out of the line.
When the peanut butter lover’s family asked him what was going on, he responded, “They’re looking to confiscate my explosives,” the New York Daily News reported.
Hannibal’s lawsuit claims he made the comment in jest, but the TSA officer missed the sarcasm and called over a police officer to arrest the 50-year-old.
Hannibal was charged with falsely reporting a felony and spent 25 hours in jail, the Daily News reported.
The Queens County district attorney’s office, which has jurisdiction over LaGuardia, declined to prosecute the former Harlem resident.
The former New Yorker’s attorney, Alan Levine, told the Daily News that his client’s arrest could have been avoided if authorities used common sense.
“It’s a sorry state of affairs in this country when sarcasm is considered a felony,” he said.
Hannibal told the Daily News that his ordeal was a “nightmare.
“It sounds laughable now, but, at the time, to be led out of there like a terrorist was unbelievable,” he said. “My whole life was up in the air. It was a nightmare. My children were overwhelmed. It was crazy.”
Hannibal said his jail experience was filled with harsh conditions. Ironically, he was served a peanut butter sandwich while he was locked up.
“The jelly looked like pus, the peanut butter like God knows what, and the bread was hard as a rock," he told the Daily News.