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Shameful Abuse of Severely Disabled Young Woman instigated by Memphis TSA Agents

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 1, 2016 19:02

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A 19 year old disabled brain tumor patient was bruised and bloodied after a violent scuffle with TSA agents at the Memphis airport

A picture tells a thousand words. Seeing the frightened, confused bloodied face of an innocent young woman suffering from a life-threatening illness- looking up at the camera snapping her distress; is just too much for any thinking person! This is truly one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever read. And it has not only received national attention but international attention as well. The story made page 1 of TheDailyMail.com out of the U.K.

Hannah Cohen, 19, of Chattanooga, TN was flying home with her mother on June 30, 2015 following treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. They had taken that same trip for 17 years.

The radiation she received for a brain tumor had left her with serious impediments in walking, motor ability, eyesight and hearing.

Apparently, an alarm went off just as Hannah was going through a checkpoint. When TSA agents tried to search the teen, she became scared and disoriented. Her mother said she was not sure what set the alarm off, but believes it had nothing to do with her daughter.

The TSA personnel did not recognize that Hannah has a disablity and that's the reason she would not not submit to a search. She simply couldn't understand their instructions.

According to Shirley Cohen, Hannah's mother, her repeated efforts to alert TSA agents that her daughter was disabled went unheeded: she was kept away by police. ''She's trying to get away from them but in the next instant, one of them had her down on the ground and hit her head on the floor. There was blood everywhere,'' said Shirley Cohen. What a nightmare for a mother to witness, especially after already seeing her daugher endure so much suffering. Hannah was arrested and booked in jail but later released.

What has happened to common sense and decency? Cohen's lawyers, Kelly Pearson and William Hardwick, have filed a lawsuit, rightfully so, on Hannah Cohen's behalf. The lawsuit alleges the TSA assaulted Hannah Cohen at the checkpoint, 'causing her physical and emotional injury as well as emotional injury' to her mother.

I witnessed a related incident, although not as blatantly violent, at the Seattle- Tacoma airport a few years ago. I was enroute to Florida going through the TSA screening line and saw a young girl about 12 in a wheelchair. I heard a female agent say to her in a brusque and angry tone "Take off your shoes, take off your shoes." Her poor mother was bathed in tears and said, "She can't bend down that far. She has cerebral palsy."

It took very ounce of self control for me not to start screaming my head off at the agent for her insensitivity and ignorance. Thankfully, another female agent, a supervisor, quickly interceded and mitigated the situation. At least she showed some compassion toward the child and her mom, who was visibly shaken.

I am not condemning every TSA agent. It is a tough and stressful job. Obviously, we must do everything possible to stop anyone who intends to kill or maim. But there clearly needs to be additional training for TSA personnel. Why not provide trained medical staff to work closeby with security to access passengers, if TSA staff is not familiar with a certain behavior or reaction of someone with a physical or emotional disability.

TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz released a statement that “Passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”

I understand the need to protect the public. There are bad bad people out there. However, not everyone has evil intentions. Certainly, not a severely disabled young woman receiving radiation or a frail child in a wheel chair, virtually paralyzed. Let's protect the rights of these people, too.

The Cohen family is requesting $100,000 in the lawsuit launched against the TSA and airport police.

 

 

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 1, 2016 19:02

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Source: Daily Mail

Hannah Cohen, 19, ended up bruised and blooded after a scuffle with TSA agents at Memphis International Airport. She had...

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