In June 2015, then-18-year-old Hannah Cohen was on her way home from St. Jude’s Hospital following treatment for a brain tumor when she was allegedly assaulted by TSA officials at Memphis International Airport.
After setting off a metal detector at the security checkpoint, TSA agents took Hannah aside for additional screening. According to WREG, Hannah’s mother Shirley told the officials that her daughter is “partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused, but said she was kept at a distance by police.”
Hannah, apparently disoriented by what was happening, struggled with the agents. She was then slammed to the ground, causing her to bleed profusely from her head. Hannah was thrown in jail, but the charges against her were later rescinded.
The Guardian reports that 24 hours later, when Hannah was released from jail, she cried to her mother, saying:
“I’m sorry, Mama.”
— KTLA (@KTLA) July 1, 2016
Now, the Cohens are fighting back, filing a lawsuit against the airport, the TSA, and the airport police.
The suit states, in part:
“…the Plaintiff, Hannah Cohen, has damage from radiation and removal of a brain tumor that substantially limits her ability to speak, walk, stand, see, hear, care for herself, learn and work, think, concentrate, and interact with others…
This substantial limitation is obvious upon sight…
The Plaintiff, Shirley Cohen, repeatedly tried to tell the personnel manning the security checkpoint of her daughter’s brain tumor and disabilities. However, the personnel at the security checkpoint refused to listen to the Plaintiff, Shirley Cohen…They proceeded to assault the Plaintiff, Hannah Cohen, at the checkpoint, causing her physical and emotional injury…
The Plaintiffs pray for damages in a reasonable sum not exceeding $100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Dollars) and costs…”
This is teen-age cancer patient Hannah Cohen after beating by TSA agents. She’s partly deaf & blind in one eye http://pic.twitter.com/cogDAiyZN2
— Ivan G.Goldman (@ivan_goldman) July 2, 2016
For its part, the TSA isn’t taking this quietly.
First, a statement was issued by TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz:
“…passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”
Then on Friday, the TSA’s official Twitter account posted the following:
Reports on the unfortunate situation in Memphis are inaccurate. Police responded when the passenger refused screening or to leave.
— TSA (@TSA) July 1, 2016
As previously stated, these reports on the unfortunate situation at MEM are inaccurate. We can’t comment further due to pending litigation.
— TSA (@TSA) July 2, 2016
Shirley Cohen told The Guardian:
“These people think they are God. They think they can do anything they want. Well, in this country we have the Americans with Disabilities Act. And if they will do this to a disabled girl, does that mean they’ll do it to an 80-year-old grandmother? It’s time for justice.”
Twitter user Benjamin Granucci may have put it best when he replied to the initial TSA tweet:
— Benjamin Granucci (@BLGranucci) July 1, 2016
No further statements have been made by the TSA regarding the incident.
Source: independent journal
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