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Lawsuit claims TSA agents assaulted 19-year-old cancer patient

July 3, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Lawsuit claims TSA agents assaulted 19-year-old cancer patient

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A new lawsuit accuses TSA agents of assaulting a disabled Tennessee teen with brain cancer who was trying to make it home to celebrate following her treatment last year.

The suit claims that 19-year-old Hannah Cohen had received her final round of radiation for a brain tumor at St. Jude’s hospital and was traveling in June 2015 to her home in Chattanooga, Tenn when she set off a metal detector at Memphis International Airport.

Shirley Cohen, the victim’s mother said Hannah became confused when TSA agents told her they needed to escort her to a “sterile area” to conduct a search, but she then tried “to get away from” the officers.

The mother saw the situation escalate and tried to explain to the agents that the teen was left disabled from the cancer treatments, which left her partially paralyzed, blind in one eye and deaf, the lawsuit claims.

According to Guardian UK,  Cohen told the officers, “She is a St. Jude’s patient, and she can get confused” Hannah’s mother attempted to explain to the agents, “Please be gentle. If I could help her, it will make things better.”

The mother then watched in horror as a scuffle unfolded injuring her disoriented daughter.

“One of them had her down on the ground and hit her head on the floor. There was blood everywhere,” Cohen told WREG News.

As her phone came out of the security’s conveyor belt, she grabbed it and snapped a photo of Hannah’s bloodied face in tears.

Shirley Cohen told The Guardian, “I felt so helpless. I sat down on a bench facing away so I couldn’t see what they were doing to my daughter.”

The suit says agents cuffed Hannah, who was forced to stay in a Memphis Jail overnight instead of flying home. She and her mother were reunited the following day in the jail’s parking lot.

The girl collapsed in her mother’s in tears saying “I’m sorry, Mama,” Cohen told the Guardian.

When the judge saw the extent of Hannah’s injuries the next morning the charges were dismissed and the $250 in court fees the family had to pay was refunded.

Now attorneys for the outraged family filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration, Memphis Airport, and Airport Police for failing to accommodate her during the security screening process because of her disability and for discrimination.

The federal suit claims the girl suffered “physical and emotional injury” for the assault at the hands of the TSA agents.

In a released statement to WREG News, the TSA said, “Passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”

“Anybody can file anything, and we don’t comment on active litigation, there clearly was additional facts in the matter,” Scott Brockman, the CEO of Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority told the Commercial Appeal newspaper.

The family seeks a “reasonable sum not exceeding $100,000 and costs.”

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