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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Videotape Shows Kennedy Pushing Airport Guard

May 18, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A videotape of a confrontation between Rep. Patrick Kennedy and an airport security guard shows the congressman shoving the woman backward into the archway of a metal detector.

The incident was recorded by security cameras at the Los Angeles airport, and a tape was released Wednesday by airport police after the city attorney's office decided Tuesday not to bring charges.

The guard, Della Patton, 58, had filed a battery complaint against the 32-year-old Rhode Island Democrat.

Both sides had claimed the videotape would support their account of the March 26 incident.

The tape shows Kennedy trying to fit a large carry-on bag into an X-ray machine. Patton waves at Kennedy, apparently indicating the bag won't fit.

She and Kennedy talk, and he steps over to the metal detector, which is blocked by Patton. Kennedy raises his right hand to her left shoulder and pushes her back, jostling the detector archway.

Kennedy, the son of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, has admitted acting rudely and apologized, but he denied hurting Patton. He said the incident was blown out of proportion.

Patton's lawyer has said he will probably seek a settlement and sue if those talks fail.

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