Kennedy Tape Shows Rude Behavior but No Assault or Evidence of Excruciating Pain (posted May 17, 2000)

The videotape of the encounter between Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Los Angeles Airport security guard Della Patton shows Kennedy engaged in rude and inappropriate behavior, but does little to back up Patton's claim that Kennedy assaulted her or caused excruciating pain. A slow-motion analysis of the tape shows Kennedy running up to the security checkpoint in an obvious hurry. After attempting to put his large bag through the X-ray machine, Patton comes up and blocks Kennedy's effort to go through the checkpoint. He tries to push past her, which appears to throw her off balance and push her against the security barrier. While this behavior clearly is inappropriate and rude, the tape undermines Patton's argument as told to the National Enquirer that the congressman caused her excruciating pain and that "he was going to rip my arm out of its socket."

Following the encounter, Patton is shown on the videotape walking around without any apparent discomfort, gesturing with both hands, and leaning against the security machine with her weight on her arms. No where is the security guard seen cradling her arm or otherwise demonstrating physical evidence of pain. The tape does not have an audio track so there is no way to evaluate the words that were spoken between the two individuals. There appeared to be no other witnesses to the alleged incident who could corroborate the testimony of one versus the other. Given these circumstances, it is no surprise the City Attorney decided not to file charges against Congressman Kennedy.