On June 30, 2015, Shirley Cohen snapped a shocking photo of her handcuffed, weeping and bleeding daughter sitting on the floor after she was arrested by TSA workers in Memphis Airport.
19-year-old Hannah Cohen was heading back from St. Jude Hospital where the teen was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Going through security at the Memphis Airport, sequins on Cohen’s shirt set off the metal detector and was flagged for extra screening.
Agents told Hannah they needed to take her to a “sterile area” where they could search her further. According to Hannah’s mother, the teen was afraid and offered to take off the sequined shirt as she was wearing another underneath, but a female agent laughed at her.
That’s when things escalated.
The brain tumor had left Hannah blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and partially paralyzed, so when the guards grabbed each of her arms, it startled her. When Cohen tried to push the guards away they slammed her to the ground, smashing her face into the floor, which left her physically and emotionally injured.
Hannah Cohen was arraigned on “various charges,” which were later dropped, and sued the TSA for a “reasonable sum, not exceeding $100,000.00”, plus an undisclosed amount in punitive damages. The TSA has not officially commented on the lawsuit, but a spokesperson released a statement saying “Passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”