Disabled cancer patient sues airport and TSA after bloody checkpoint scuffle

Posted at 11:02 AM, Jul 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 14:05:09-04

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 undergoing treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude Hospital.

It's a trip her family has made for 17 years. This time, an unarmed Cohen 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.

Shirley Cohen told WREG 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," she said.

Hannah Cohen 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,” Shirley Cohen said.

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 those agencies would comment citing the suit.

Sari Koshetz, of TSA, released this statement: “Passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation.”

Shirley 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," the mom said. "We've been through so much.”