To: Polizeipräsidium Frankfurt am Main
Südpassage, Gebäude 194
60549 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49-69-755 42008
Fax: +49-69-755 42009
Re case file number: ST/0042100/2018.
Dear Sir or Madam;
I am writing with respect a case that was filed against me on false charges on 11 January 2018. My case number is ST/0042100/2018.
Summary of Key Points
- Police Lieutenant Ostrav threatened to arrest me because I wanted to file a customer service complaint against him in response to his unprofessional and needlessly rude behavior.
- I was falsely accused and arrested on the charge of calling officer Ostrav a Nazi (among other epithets) despite the copious amounts of exculpatory footage that all police officials refused to review.
- I was denied the right of filing a counter-charge of defamation against my accusers.
- I was falsely relieved of my assets.
- After the arrest the police published an account of the event (in response to my own in the Huffington Post) that was explicitly misogynist and intended to depict me as an ill-behaved, out of control, entitled American female who was outraged over her “seized cosmetics.” In fact, I was pleasant and professional throughout the encounter despite being called a hippie, treated to excessive rudeness and threatened with arrest over seeking to file a customer service complaint.
- The police appear to have violated Germany’s own privacy laws: I observed that several German newspapers published the police’s account with my name and photo. This constitutes a further defamation campaign waged by your own police forces.
I am requesting that these fraudulent charges be dropped, that my seized assets be returned, that lieutenant Ostrav is investigated, and that defamation charges are filed against Mr. S. Kapoor, who perjured himself in testimony against me.
This missive describes the events leading to the unjust arrest and defamation and their sequelae.
The Event in Question
On 11 January 2018, my carry-on baggage was screened for explosives and came up positive. I became concerned about this when I asked the baggage screener about the process for resolution. She answered only “the police will come.” In the United States and other places I visit frequently, baggage screeners are generally willing to explain the process for resolution of baggage-related issues. I found this person’s refusal to answer my question to be puzzling and disconcerting. Worse yet, it took some time for the police to arrive. I asked her to call the police again because I had already missed one flight thanks to United Airlines and was likely to miss the flight on which I had been rescheduled. She explained that this was “not my problem.” I asked another inspector to call the police, after which the police finally came.
As a somewhat frequent visitor to Afghanistan, which I explained to lieutenant Ostrav, I was worried that perhaps my bag had come into contact with ambient amount explosives in the air. My colleagues in the armed forces report that this does happen on occasion owing to the pervasive amount of explosives in the ground-level atmosphere. I wanted to know what I should do about this: should I throw the bag away? Can I clean it? I tend to trust Germany technology and operated under the assumption that this was not a false positive.
Without explanation, officer Ostrav began removing my belongings from the bag. In the United States, this typically would happen in a private place rather than the public. When no explosives were found, he made a considerable scene over two tubes of antibiotics that he found in various pockets of my bag. As someone who flies about three to four times a month, I have not actually emptied the contents of my bag between trips in a very long time.
However, he continued belaboring these excess liquids. (I did not feel the need to engage on the facts that those tubes he threw away were, in fact, medicinal and are allowed even if they exceed the “one baggie” rule.) Next, Ostrav seized upon my solid deodorant. (See Pic 1.) Ostrav’s deputy, apparently of junior rank because Ostrav chastised him for weighing in on the issue despite his junior rank, also understood it was a solid but was told that his opinion did not matter because Ostrav “outranked” him.
I pointed out that this was, in fact, a solid. It was evident from visual inspection it was a solid and the description on the container made it clear it was a solid. Ostrav was simply being noxious because his authority permits him to be obnoxious. Ostrav offered various preposterous explanations for why it was a liquid. For example, he claimed that the “solid mixes with the body and becomes a liquid” and thus it is a liquid after he first argued incorrectly that the container had fluid in it.
At this point, I asked to speak with a manager. Ostrav said “I am the manager and I say it is a liquid.” I countered politely that he is not a manager, he is a police officer. At this point, I asked for his name because I wanted to file a customer service complaint about the basic rudeness of the entire process inclusive of the scene he made about the ostensibly excess liquid and ultimately the seizure of a solid for no apparent reason other than he could.
He told me pointedly that if I filed a complaint about him, I would have a police record. Precisely, he said “If you file a complaint, I will arrest you for being an unruly passenger. Do you want a German police record?”
I thought he was bluffing. I could not possibly imagine a German police officer being so crudely abusive of power. But he was not bluffing. I repeated my polite request for his name. He then asked me for my passport and boarding passes and withdrew a notebook from his pocket, in which he wrote my information and repeated that I would have a police record if I wanted to complain about is behavior. I repeated my request for his name and told him that I would specifically mention this threat in my complaint. Finally, after requesting his name several times, he wrote his name and rank on a piece of paper and tore it from the notebook described above. See Pic 2. At no point did he actually show me his police credentials to verify that this is in fact his name. (This is, of course, customary in most of the democracies in which I have lived or traveled.)
At one point in these various exchanges, I was called a “hippie.” This was obnoxious. I presume I was dismissed as a hippie because I am a female with long hair and was wearing an Indian shirt and jacket? For the record, I am a tenured professor at a major research university in the Washington, DC area, whose specialization is international terrorism and other national security affairs. Not only do I have a clean criminal and driving record, I also hold a security clearance, and have advised German officials on Afghanistan! I am a fastidious upholder of the law wherever I have traveled. I am the obverse of a “hippie.”
During the entire process, I was polite although I was very worried about my bag and what I should do with it; not to mention worrying whether or not I should call the conference organizers in New Delhi about yet another missed flight. Ultimately, no one answered my question about whether I should discard the bag or clean it. I presume it was a false positive. But no one could be bothered to even answer that basic question, which I posed not to be obnoxious but because I am in fact a national security professional who takes these matters seriously. Nonetheless, Ostrav barked at me to “shut up” when I tried to understand whether the positive test was a false positive.
During this process, three American men came through the same line. One of whom had a distinctive haircut of the Hitler Youth. Had anyone bothered looking at the footage, they would have seen that I frequently looked back at these gentlemen in disbelief.
After Ostrav left and as I packed my bag, I muttered to myself “The crack German police have seized my deodorant…but they don’t seem to care about that Nazi-looking dude over there!” A baggage screener, whom I learned later was named Kapoor accused me of calling Ostrav a Nazi. He then called officer Ostrav back to the screening area whereupon I was arrested and falsely charged with defaming Ostrav. (By the way: I know it is illegal to call someone a Nazi in Germany, which is why I would never do so. I also personally oppose the gratuitous use of the word “Nazi” and only use it when the evidence merits its use as is the case in contemporary American politics under the Trump regime, which has empowered and normalized these elements..)
At first, I assumed that this was a linguistic misunderstanding on the part of Kapoor and explained “I think you misunderstood me. I referred to the gentlemen behind me, who is an AMERICAN, not your police officer.” I asked Ostrav and Kapoor to replay the security footage to confirm my account. He and officer Ostrav refused to refer to the footage noting that their surveillance tools do not record sound. I countered that the footage would show the three men behind me, my repeated astonished glances at the fellow, and the hairdo which was strikingly redolent of the Hitler’s Youth well-groomed pompadour. Not to mention, the video would confirm my lip movements to be consistent with my account rather than their account. No one was interested in reviewing that footage. (I hope that the prosecution will at least bother to do so, although I fear it is long gone.)
I am aware that this “haircut” may not mean anything to you or many others who are unacquainted with the state of affairs in my country generally of my state, Virginia, specifically. However, the coiffure did and does mean something specific and worrisome to me for several reasons, which are germane to this case and why I was concerned about the gentleman in question.
First, I live in Alexandria, Virginia. Very near my home in Alexandria is the residence and national office of the most prominent leader of the American Nazi movement: Richard Spencer. Richard Spencer first came to national notoriety in November 2016 when his leaders gave the Sieg Heil salute to President Trump in the Ronald Reagan Building in nearby Washington DC after his election in November 2016. Mr. Spencer specifically adopts the hair-style of Hitler’s Youth and he encourages his followers to do the same.
Second, Mr. Spencer has caused havoc in my community with his night-time torch-lit rallies deliberately intended to conger images of similar rallies convened by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK); his calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” which he readily admits it will not likely be peaceful; as well as his demeaning insults of racial and religious minorities and women. In August 2017 he convened a so-called “unite the right” rally to protest the removal of Jim Crow-era statuary commemorating slavery and the treasonous soldiers who fought to maintain it under the banner of the Confederacy. At that rally, one of his supporters deliberately rammed his vehicle into a counter-protester and killed her. Spencer had a previous rally on May 14, 2017. Within a week of that racist rally, one of Mr. Spencer’s fellow white supremacist murdered Lt. Collins III, an African American young man in our community who had distinguished himself as a scholar and as an air-borne qualified soldier.
Third, after that rally in May, I worked to oust Mr. Spencer from my private health club because several of the gym employees asked me to do so. The gym had been indifferent to their pleas even though most are members of minority communities specifically impugned by Spencer’s hate speech. The ouster of Spencer and my centrality to it became national and even international news. His followers obtained and published my home address and phone number. For nearly one month, I was subjected to death threats, threats of sexual violence, and harassed by his followers who used crude anti-Semitic abuses through all means possible. They harassed me at home and they harassed my colleagues at their place of employment. I received voice mail at my home in which the caller said, “Fat, kikess, get into the oven” among other similar examples of anti-Semitic hate-speech. His followers made and distributed hateful fliers in my neighborhood calling me among other things a “Zionist terrorist” along with numerous other flyers that articulated anti-Muslim and racist messages. (See pic 3.) Because of my long-ago process of converting to Judaism, my local police treated this matter and subsequent harassment and threats as a hate crime. While the Hitler Youth haircut and the likes of Mr. Spencer may mean nothing to you, it means and meant a lot to me. I still receive occasional abuses from his acolytes.
Once in the small police station, an officer whose name-tag read “Mehrinj,” arrived from the state police. I had expected this ostensible professional to resolve the matter in the most obvious way, allowing me to rebook yet another flight. It was not to be. The man who accused me of calling Ostrav a Nazi (Kapoor) was now repeating his account to Mehrinj. As Mehrinj took his credentials, I saw his name: S. Kapoor. Kapoor was furious that I learned his name. (See Pic 4). After much polite insistence, Mehrinj finally wrote his first initial and family name on a piece of paper along with his organizational affiliation.
As I stood there, Mr. Kapoor augmented his initial accusation with additional fabricated details. I don’t know German but I did hear Kapoor say this: “Fucking Nazi German police.” Mehrinj confirmed that, according to Mr. Kapoor, I had called Mr. Ostrv a “Fucking Nazi German police.” I may note that this is not standard American vernacular English, which is an important point since Kapoor was adamant that this was a direct quote. In the mendacious and deliberately misleading press release issued by the state police, it appears as if Mr. Kapoor further added yet more lies to his perjurous account by accusing me of calling Ostrav (or it seems German police in general) “fucking bastards.” Instead of reviewing the footage, Mehrinj simply believed what he heard and wrote that I was “strongly suspected of having committed” the offense of defamation.
- I want to draw your attention to several irregularities I experienced at the airport police station:
- I was never given a copy of the police report or even of my own statement. This is important because it serves as a record of what happened while I was there. It appears as if Mr. Kapoor continued to add further fictions to his fraudulent testimony, as noted above.
- I specifically requested to file charges of defamation against Mr. Kapoor, but I was denied this. (The refusal to take my complaint against Mr. Kapoor happens in countries like India and Pakistan where ironically I study police reform. I did not expect this to happen in Germany.)
- I had to demand Mr. Kapoor’s name. I was not given it freely. In what democracy is a person denied the very name of her accuser, much less the name of a person who has made false accusations?
- I was told that the prosecutor requested 300 Euros after the paperwork was complete. (Note that I was not given the complete paperwork with the exception of the forms provided below (Pics 5 and 6).) I asked about the purpose of this payment and was told that this was to avoid going to jail. However, I told them explicitly that I wanted to go to jail, that I wanted to meet a German judge and explain how this fiasco started with me wanting to file a customer service complaint and being threatened with arrest by lieutenant Ostrav and then, finally, I was charged with an outrageously false charge.
At this point, Mehrinj told me that he was empowered to “confiscate my assets.” I again requested to know the grounds for this only to be told that it was because I was “avoiding going to jail.” However, I was not avoiding going to jail. They were avoiding taking me to jail. Ultimately, Mehrinj forced me to remove my wallet and the cash therein. (I asked him if he wanted my Indian Rupees, which he derided.) He organized the bills by denomination and arbitrarily removed $260. In my experience as a well-traveled person and as a scholar of police corruption in South Asia, this is what we call a “shakedown.”
At no point did anyone review the exculpatory footage, despite my repeated requests. In fact, I suspect that the exculpatory footage is long gone.
Kapoor and Ostrav described me as a “hippie.” This is a peculiar appellation for me and I can only attribute their deployment of it to the fact that I was wearing an Indian shirt. I explained that in fact I am a professor who specializes in national security affairs and I am not a hippie, whatever they meant by that.
To add to the general lack of professionalism in the police at Frankfurt, I had to reach out to the German Embassy to identify the appropriate contact information. I obtained the information for this correspondence from Mr. Holger Scherf, the Consul General and Legal Adviser at the German Embassy in Washington D.C.
The Police’s Behavior After the Event
After I left Frankfurt for New Delhi India, I wrote a detailed account of what transpired in The Huffington Post and shared it on my social media. I also emailed an official complaint to the police department. The police refused to entertain my complaint against Ostrav until after the prosecution. This was preposterous because I am being prosecuted on the false testimony of Ostrav and Kapoor, the objects of my complaint. (See Pic 7).
The police department even attempted to bully me for my account. (See Pic. 8.) I found their post to be outrageous given what had just happened to me. I was not given due process. I was falsely charged with a crime I did not commit, I was denied the right to press counter-charges of defamation, I was never given a police report, and I was “relieved of my assets” for reasons that were not as stated.
After my piece in the Huffington Post ran, The Bundespolizeidirektion Flughafen Frankfurt Am Main ran a press release that published several lies and helped to create a gendered narrative that I was the “ugly American” who made a scene over my “cosmetics.” Consistent with their desire to depict me as an unreasonable American woman, they claimed that I was irate over my “cosmetics.” The use of this gendered word is absurd: I do not wear cosmetics because I am allergic to the vast majority of cosmetics. (The only time you will see makeup on me is when I have been forced to do so while doing television interviews.)
The only person who made a nuisance of himself over liquids was Ostrav, who was obnoxious, impolite, capricious and abusive. The report blatantly lied about the substance of the deodorant by calling it a “roll-on,” which is a specific product that is liquid deodorant distributed on the skin through the use of a rolling ball. My product, which Ostrave decided to create a scene over, was not a roll-on; rather a solid. The press release also reported erroneously that I was traveling to Istanbul. I strongly suspect this inaccuracy was a deliberate effort to mobilize the less-than-salubrious sentiments in Germany about Turks and Turkey. (After all, I was going to Delhi not Istanbul which Ostrav knew since he took my boarding passes.)
Moreover, it appears as if the police violated Germany’s own privacy laws. When I reached home I found that several German newspapers published their “press release,” with my name and photo. At no point did anyone ask me if the Huffington Post account referred to the same person as their press release. Here are some of the links that friends and colleagues in Germany sent me:
Germany’s police demure from releasing the full names of terrorists; however, they seemed to have released my name in an effort to besmirch my name and reputation. A more litigious person than myself would also seek reparations for this outrage. Notably, in each of the above accounts, the papers rely upon the account of the police, not mine.
- In short, I am requesting the following:
- To be cleared of this outrageous charge and to be issued an apology for the police’s outrageous behavior at the airport and for the smear campaign they launched against me afterwards.
- My money to be returned to me.
- That officer Ostrav to be investigated for threatening to arrest me because I sought to file a customer service report about his behavior and my experience with baggage screeners.
- For a case of defamation to be opened against Mr. S. Kapoor. Whether he initially misheard me I do not know or care because. in the end. he continued to add fabricated details which could only have been a deliberate attempt to further defame me because they in no way resembled anything that I said. For example, at no point did I use profanity as Kapoor’s perjured testimony suggests.
In closing, I have no actual expectation that you will even receive this missive as I was informed by Mr. Scherf that I must send this to the very organization which refused to take my complaints seriously in the first instance, charged me with a crime which I did not commit, and refused to file a counter-charge against Mr. Kapoor for perjuring himself with his false, defamatory testimony.
In the odd event that this missive does reach the desk of the prosecution, I hope she or he will treat me with more fairness and judicious consideration than I have received thus far.
Christine Fair, PhD
Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Pic. 1: The Actual Deodorant, Which is Clearly a Solid (not a roll-on)
Pic. 2: Ostrav’s Name and Rank (in his writing)
Pic. 3. Photographs of Flyers Posted in My Neighborhood by American Nazis, featuring those that targeted me.
Source: Various photographs from the event.
Pic. 4 Name and Title of S. Kapoor as Given to Me by “State Police.”
Pic. 5. Statement which Falsely States the Reason for My Asset Seizure
Pic. 6. One of Only Two Documents I received. The other is shown in Pic. 5.
Pic. 7. Email Exchange with the Police
Pic. 8. Tweet from the Police
 Mr. Spencer is also wont to use the vernacular of the Third Reich such as “Lügenpresse” among other expressions. See Daniel Lombroso, “’Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President-Elect,” The Atlantic, November 21, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/; Joseph Goldstein, “Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute,” The New York Times, November 20, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/alt-right-salutes-donald-trump.html.
 Ruth Perl Baharir, “From hipster fad to neo-Nazi tag: How America’s Alt-right Got Its Signature Hairstyle,” Haaretz, Feb 08, 2017. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-how-america-s-alt-right-got-its-signature-hairstyle-1.5495494; Monica Hesse and Dan Zak November, “Does this haircut make me look like a Nazi?,” The Washington Post, November 30, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/11/30/does-this-haircut-make-me-look-like-a-nazi/?utm_term=.0ad048e484c9.
 If you are unfamiliar with this hateful organization, see Southern Poverty Law Center, “Ku Klux Klan,” n.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan.
 Ben Schreckinger, “The Alt-Right Comes to Washington,” January/February 2017, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/alt-right-trump-washington-dc-power-milo-214629.
 Phil Mccausland, Emmanuelle Saliba And Moira Donohue, “Charlottesville Rally Turns Deadly: One Killed After Car Strikes Crowd, NBC News, August 13, 2017. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/charlottesville-rally-turns-deadly-one-killed-after-car-strikes-crowd-n792116.
 “White nationalist Richard Spencer at rally over Confederate statue’s removal
Spencer says torch-wielding protest in Charlottesville, Virginia – which evokes memories of the KKK – was ‘a way to communicate with the dead’ The Guardian, May 14, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/14/richard-spencer-white-nationalist-virginia-confederate-statue.
 Dave Zirin, “A Lynching on the University of Maryland Campus,” The Nation, May 22, 2017. https://www.thenation.com/article/lynching-university-maryland-campus/.
 C. Christine Fair, “I confronted Richard Spencer at my gym,” The Washington Post, May 25, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/25/i-confronted-richard-spencer-at-my-gym-racists-dont-get-to-lift-in-peace/?utm_term=.0b256008b4d6.
 See inter alia, Faiz Siddiqui, “Georgetown professor confronts white nationalist Richard Spencer at the gym — which terminates his membership.” The Washington Post, May 21, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/georgetown-professor-confronts-white-nationalist-richard-spencer-at-the-gym–which-terminates-his-membership/2017/05/21/d3ff6512-3e51-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html?utm_term=.dcfe032872e7; “White Nationalist Richard Spencer Loses Gym Membership After Brush With Professor,” Haaretz, May 21, 2017. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/richard-spencer-loses-gym-membership-after-confrontation-1.5474726; Andrew Buncombe, “Richard Spencer has gym membership revoked after woman confronts him for being ‘neo-Nazi’,” The Independent, May 22, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/richard-spencer-neo-nazi-alt-right-christine-fair-a7750186.html.
 Remy Smidt and David Mack, “A Bunch of Racist Posters Were Plastered Around This Neighborhood And Now Police Are Investigating,” Buzzfeed, May 27, 2017. https://www.buzzfeed.com/remysmidt/police-investigate-racist-posters?utm_term=.wjJxaM8kp#.daxxwvkEY.
 Sam Kestenbaum, “Professor Branded ‘Dirty Jew’ After Confronting ‘Nazi’ Richard Spencer,” The Forward, May 23, 2017. https://forward.com/news/372708/professor-branded-dirty-jew-after-confronting-richard-spencer-but-she-isnt/.
 “BPOLD FRA: U.S. Passenger insults Federal Police Officers at Frankfurt Airport,” January 19, 2018. https://www.presseportal.de/blaulicht/pm/74262/3844730.
 C. Christine Fair, “Framed, Arrested and Robbed by the Police in Frankfurt: A Not-So Funny Thing Happened on my Way to the Forum in Delhi,” January 12, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/framed-arrested-and-robbed-by-the-police-in-frankfurt_us_5a58f270e4b01ccdd48b5bbf?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004.