He was able to pass the checkpoint because the TSA agent on duty was looking at his cell phone as Cockerham slipped through an unused metal detector.
Police did not arrive for 14 minutes, during which time Cockerham was able to chat with his girlfriend who was onboard the flight, before being ejected from the plane. The police report states that he "began crying and would not cooperate or answer any of our questions." He told authorities, "he made some bad choices" but he "didn't want his girlfriend going down there and being with the wrong guy."
Inside Cockerham’s vehicle, parked at a nearby curb, police search dogs "exhibited a positive response for the presence of energetic materials" but no dangerous objects or materials were found,
The lovelorn would-be traveler plead guilty to criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. A former Dallas chief of police said the footage of Cockherham walking past security should be shown to "every security personnel within the entire air world."
The TSA is still investigating, and says they have "made a number of adjustments to checkpoints, including adding glass panel barriers and enhanced passenger routing gates, which were installed at all checkpoints within a month."
It is not known whether TSA employees can continue to carry their smartphones while on duty.