Security camera footage of a scuffle between a disabled cancer patient and security officers at the Memphis airport has been obtained and released by The Commercial Appeal, a Tennessee-based newspaper.
The incident occurred last summer when 19-year-old Hannah Cohen was flying back home with her mother Shirley Cohen, after completing treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Due to her medical condition, following the removal of a brain tumor and treatment radiation, the teenager has difficulties in speaking, walking, hearing and seeing. While making her way through the airport, Cohen apparently set off a metal detector at a security checkpoint that led to a huge scuffle with security officers.
Security personnel who rushed to the scene can be seen arguing with Cohen and her mother, but when the teenager tried to move away, an officer grabbed her. Understandably, Cohen and her mother resisted and at this point they were separated.
The encounter with the officers caused Cohen to become disoriented; as a result she fought back in self-defense. Although she is partially paralyzed, blind in one eye and deaf in one ear and did not possess any weapons, the security agents still saw her as a major threat.
An officer threw Cohen to the ground while placing his knees on top of her neck. Cohen’s mother tried to explain her daughter’s condition to the officers, but they apparently paid no heed to what she was saying.
Cohen was arrested and sent to jail but charges against her were later dismissed.
The family is now holding the TSA, Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority, and the Memphis International Airport Police Department responsible for the incident.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Andrew Burton