The family of a disabled cancer patient has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration after a misunderstanding turned into a scuffle that left the 18-year-old bruised and bloodied.

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It was Thursday [June 30] that Hannah Cohen was returning home to Chattanooga, Tennessee after receiving treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude’s Hospital when she encountered an incident at Memphis International Airport.

“They wanted to do further scanning,” says Shirley Cohen, Hannah’s mother. “She was reluctant, she didn’t understand what they were about to do.”

According to Cohen, she attempted to explain to the TSA agents that her daughter is partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and also easily confused due to her tumor and a number of surgeries she had undergone since she was two. However, she says they kept her away from her child.


When Hannah Cohen attempted to push away in a frenzy, armored guards were called to the scene. The guards allegedly slammed her face to ground, leaving her covered in blood, handcuffed, and in tears.

It was her mother, who in an instant, grabbed her phone from the conveyor belt and snapped a photo of Hannah on the floor.image

According to the lawsuit, TSA did not give Hannah adequate accommodation for her disability and discriminated against her. Naming the TSA and the Memphis-Shelby County airport authority, the lawsuit is seeking a “reasonable sum not exceeding $100,000 and costs” to cover personal injury, both physical and emotional.

The 18-year old Cohen was later transported to a nearby hospital, then the Shelby County jail where she would spend 24 hours apart from her mother. Charges against her were dropped and the $250 in costs that the family had to pay were refunded.

“These people think they are God,” Shirley Cohen tells The Guardian. “If they will do this to a disabled girl, does that mean they’ll do it to an 80-year old grandmother? It’s time for justice.”