- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn)
An Ohio woman is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other government agencies, claiming that she was removed from her flight at gunpoint and forced to stay in an airport cell for over four hours.
Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Jewish half-Arab woman from Ohio, has claimed that she was subjected to unfair treatment because she was seated between two suspicious men and bore a wrong last name. The 36-year-old woman claims in her lawsuit that she was removed at gunpoint from her Denver to Detroit flight on Sept. 11, 2011.
In her statement she alleges that she was escorted from the plane in handcuffs and forced to spend four hours in a "dirty cell," according to documents obtained by ABC News. But Hebshi claims she did nothing wrong. Suspicion around her allegedly arose when the two men she was seated between began making frequent trips to the bathroom. The men were of South-Asian decent.
"I know now that my only crime on that day was an ethnic name and arbitrary seat assignment," Hebshi said at a Tuesday press conference.
The California-born freelance journalist explained that she was equally as confused as other passengers when she saw security board the plane.
"As officers boarded the plane we were ordered to put our heads down and our arms in front of us," Hebshi stated. "I wondered if there was a fugitive on board. I had no idea they were coming for me."
Immigration and Customs Enforcements and Customs and Border Protection have also been included in the lawsuit, although Heshbi's lawyers believe that it is the FBI that is responsible for her detainment.
"The FBI was clearly calling the shots," Detroit-based lawyer Bill Goodman said.
Because it was the anniversary of Sept. 11 "all precautions were taken, and any slight inconsistency was taken seriously," FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold told AP after the incident.
"We treated her well," Andrew Arena, the special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office, told the Free Press.