TSA injures and arrests a disabled teenager, because they can

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Does this make you feel safer? A disabled teenager, partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused, was injured and then arrested by TSA agents at Memphis Airport when they tried to subject her to a hands-on body scan.

Despite her concerns, Shirley [the mother] was kept away from her daughter by police. Hannah, obviously afraid, tried to get away from the grips of the TSA. “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.

The teen was arrested, booked, and sent to jail. “Here we were with nowhere to go, not even a toothbrush, our bags had gone to Chattanooga,” said the distraught mother.

The mother is suing the airport, the TSA, and the local police, all of whom acted like brainless thugs, especially since anyone with any brains would have likely realized instantly that the girl was not a threat to anyone.


  • Edward Hanley

    This is a high volume travel weekend, so the TSA people are under a lot of stress. They need to blow off steam from time to time and we should all understand their feelings and allow them the personal space to express themselves in a genuine manner. Such caring for each other is what makes America great.

  • wayne

    Unfortunately these TSA people have a measure of immunity, the extent of which I’m not entirely clear.
    That being said, just on it’s face: these TSA people should be guilty of something.
    They are under-trained & given authority– that is a bad combination.

    As Mr Z notes—“anyone with any brains would have likely realized instantly that the girl was not a threat to anyone.”

    Spent a good portion of my life working with folks like Hannah, and while I don’t know-for-a-fact what exactly happened, I will make an educated guess;
    – TSA needlessly freaked this girl out, went all Authoritarian on her, then physically intervened causing injury. Hope this family sues TSA to death & makes it stick.

  • Orion314

    Anyone care to bet the kid was white? Caucasians , the only group left that it is perfectly fine to show hatred toward, as amply and repeatedly demonstrated by the current resident of the “WHITE HOUSE” , the top boss of the TSA.

  • hondo

    Never forget – government employees – because the can – or at least think they can.

  • wayne

    Copy of the lawsuit is at:

    Her lawyer is alleging violations of the ADA (American’s with disabilities act) which is an excellent route to go, he’s using one part of the Administrative State, against another part.

    –essentially, the allegation is TSA “failed to make reasonable accommodation’s,” which is the “killer-app” in the ADA.

  • pzatchok

    I can promise you she was singled out BECAUSE she posed no threat.

    You don’t actually think the TSA agents want to find a live bomb do you?
    Hell no!
    They will, and you can watch, let the more likely suspects pass by unhindered and go for the low hanging fruit.

    They don’t want to be accused of profiling a Muslim looking or middle eastern looking person. That would be racist.

    So go for the non threatening white people. A handy capped person or the elderly are the best.

  • wayne

    This story is picking up at least some traction– I heard it on both the CBS & ABC national-radio newsfeeds today, more than once.

    Using the ADA against the TSA is brilliantly ironic. In any sort of “normal” Universe, the TSA will be coughing up some money for Hannah.

    (Huge portions of the ADA rules/regs are fairly logical & most of us would agree with them, while other aspects are absolutely onerous & business-killers. For what reason these people aren’t trained properly, I am totally convinced, is a combo of Cronyism & Nanny-Statism gone mad.)
    I can guarantee it–if I physically manhandled this young lady in Michigan & I wasn’t TSA; Adult Protective Services, Recipient Rights, and the local DA would be investigating my butt to death, while I was suspended without pay.
    (In my current position, I just read, review, edit, & counter-sign reports and no longer directly interact with people, but I still have to spend 40 hours a year being trained & retrained, and I’m held to a slighter higher standard of behavior than everyone else.)

    pzatchok: What I’m hearing you say…. we should possibly switch over to the Israeli Model of airport security. Where they actually target & profile potential threats, and do an excellent job of it.

  • maurice

    Flying and all that comes along these days is a reason I take the train with my disabled wife. I am tired of the”can you stand” questions, the insane lines, the irradiation, and most of all the lack of humanity from a system that is just plain past its sell by date.

  • Edward

    “… anyone with any brains …”

    Bureaucracies are designed to be used by people without any brains. The intention being that the rules make the standard operating procedures, thus their treatment, identical for all people. No one would possibly think (except for someone with some brains) that a fragile, disabled youngster might be confused and frightened by being manhandled by strangers after being separated from her comforting, calming, and familiar parent, guardian, or support person.

    However, this one-treatment-fits-all assumption runs afoul of the differences and idiosyncrasies between the victims — er — customers of the bureaucracy. For instance, a zero tolerance policy can all too easily be (mis)interpreted as no Pop Tarts eaten into the shape of a gun or no fingers forming the shape of a gun.The zero tolerance was intended to be for the actual gun, but the brainless bureaucrat did not have the brains to realize this. Who knew?

    With the TSA, and its bureaucratic public service, we all are assumed guilty — and treated that way — until we are proved innocent. This poor victim in Memphis was assumed guilty and treated as such, right down to being arrested and charged.

    I stand corrected. pzatchok pointed out that some certain, privileged-class people get through TSA checkpoints without the same level of scrutiny and assumption of guilt. Only a racist would ever ponder the possibility that someone of the religion of jihad could possibly have any but peaceful intentions.

    Anyone want to bet that young Hannah is now on the No-Fly List?

  • wayne

    Excellent points!

  • Phill O

    Any bets that the terrorists will start using the disabled now as they use the mentally challenged in the middle east?

  • Jeff Wyborski

    This teenager should simply yelled “Allau Akbar!” and the TSA would have left her alone, or given her priority service and arranged seat upgrades.

  • pzatchok

    The next time any of you have to visit an Airport watch the TSA agents and their actions.

    20 minute could change your view of what they do.

    Shortly after 911 I had to fly with my young son out to California so he could spend time with his mother.
    I did this every year for 6 years. Sometimes twice, first to drop off and again to pick up.
    4 times out of 6 years me and or my son were chosen randomly to undergo extra inspections. Even though praying Muslims or burka covered middle Easterners were in line just ahead of or just behind us.
    Once I watched an 80 year old white woman get pulled out of line and taken behind security doors into another room for a body search. 80 Years old with a walker.

    San Fransisco and Oakland airports are the pits.

    I must also say though that I witnessed a cop get taken down by TSA agents when the cop blurted out while in the security line that he forgot to take his gun out of his bag. At that point 6 TSA agents hit him like a pack of rabid dogs and took him down. The whole time he was yelling ‘but I’m a police officer!!! AHHH!!!”.
    I looked at the guy next to me and said “Well thats one guy who will be missing his flight today.”
    The security line never slowed down or missed a beat.

    Cleveland Airport rocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *