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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Young woman with a disability, also a St. Jude's cancer patient sues airport and TSA after bloody checkpoint scuffle


Hannah Cohen 19 year old with a disability, who is partially blind, deaf and paralyzed set off a medal detector at an airport in Memphis. Scared and confused the 19-year-old special needs girl was reluctant to let TSA agents physically examine her. The mother of the girl, Shirley Cohen, said she tried to explain the agents the reason for her daughter's behavior and reluctance. “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 Cohen

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JULY 1, 2016, BY TRIBUNE MEDIA WIRE
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ---Bloodied and bruised, Hannah Cohen was led from Memphis International Airport in handcuffs last year.

The 19-year old was headed home to Chattanooga on June 30, 2015 after treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude Hospital.

It's a trip her family has made for 17 years.

This time, an unarmed Hannah set off the metal detector at a security checkpoint

“They wanted to do further scanning, she was reluctant, she didn't understand what they were about to do," her mother Shirley Cohen said.

Cohen told us she tried to tell TSA agents her daughter is partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused, but said she was kept at a distance 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 Cohen.

Hannah was arrested and booked, and on the night she should have been celebrating the end of her treatment, she was locked up.

“Here we were with no where to go, not even a toothbrush, our bags had gone to Chattanooga,” said Cohen.

Authorities later threw out the charges, but the family filed a lawsuit against the Memphis Airport, Airport Police, and the Transportation Security Administration.

None of them would comment citing the suit, but Sari Koshetz of TSA released a statement that said, “Passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”

Cohen said after all the help here, she can't believe it ended like this.

“She's 19 but she'll always be my baby. We've been through so much.”


A Memphis International Airport security video shows the June 30, 2015 confrontation between security personnel and Hannah Cohen, a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patient, that led Cohen to file a federal lawsuit.

video

According to the lawsuit, an alarm went off when Hannah went through the security screening. She was described as being impaired from radiation treatment and the removal of a brain tumor. The aggressive cancer treatment left the teen with limited ability to talk, walk, stand, see and hear.

"(She) became disoriented and confused by the warning alarm and the actions of the personnel manning the security checkpoint to try to search her person because of her disability. The security personnel failed to recognize that she was confused because of her obvious disability and was unable to cooperate with the search," the lawsuit said.

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