Lawsuit Shoshana Hebshi: Some Real Shock and Awe: Racially Profiled and Cuffed in Detroit

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Lisa Simeone, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    21. Defendant Captain Patrick Driscoll was, at all times relevant to this action, a
    member of the Special Response Unit for the Wayne County Airport Authority Police.
    Defendant Driscoll participated in the decision to arrest, handcuff, and detain Ms. Hebshi with
    no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He
    is sued in his individual capacity.

    (page 7)

    22. Defendant Lieutenant M. Wasiukanis was, at all times relevant to this action, an
    officer of the Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Defendant Wasiukanis participated in the
    arrest, detention, and decision to strip search Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    23. Defendant Toya Parker, at all times relevant to this action, was an officer with the
    Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Officer Parker performed the strip search on Ms.
    Hebshi during her detention with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity
    or providing probable cause. She is sued in her individual capacity.

    24. Defendant Officer Grant was, at all times relevant to this action, a member of the
    Special Response Unit for the Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Defendant Grant was
    part of the team that planned and executed the arrest of Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts
    connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his
    individual capacity.

    25. Defendant Detective Carmona was, at all times relevant to this action, an officer
    with the Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Detective Carmona arrested and handcuffed
    Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. He or she is sued in his or her individual capacity.

    26. Defendant K9 Officer Johnson was, at all times relevant to this action, employed
    by the Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Defendant Johnson participated in Ms. Hebshi’s
    arrest with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable
    cause. He or she is sued in his or her individual capacity.

    27. Defendant Corporal Bradley was, at all times relevant to this action, employed by
    the Wayne County Airport Authority Police. Defendant Bradley arrested and transported Ms.

    (page 8)

    Hebshi to a detention facility at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport with no articulable
    facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his
    individual capacity.

    CBP Defendants

    28. Defendant Unknown CBP Officer was, at all times relevant to this action, an
    officer of CBP. At this time, his identity is not known to Ms. Hebshi. Upon information and
    belief, Defendant Unknown CBP Officer ordered CBP agents at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne
    County Airport to arrest and detain Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi
    to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity

    29. Defendant Thomas Pipis was, at all times relevant to this action, an officer with
    CBP. Upon information and belief, he participated in the decision to arrest and detain Ms.
    Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    30. Defendant David Lakatos was, at all times relevant to this action, an officer with
    CBP. Upon information and belief, he participated in the decision to arrest and detain Ms.
    Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    31. Defendant Nathaniel Devins was, at all times relevant to this action, an officer with
    CBP. Upon information and belief, he participated in the decision to arrest and detain Ms.
    Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    (page 9)

    TSA Defendants

    32. Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 1 was, at all times relevant to this action, an
    employee of the TSA. At this time, his identity is not known to Ms. Hebshi. Upon information
    and belief, Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 1 ordered TSA agents at Detroit Metropolitan
    Wayne County Airport to arrest and detain Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms.
    Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    33. Defendant Robert Ball was, at all times relevant to this action, the Federal Security
    Director in Detroit for the TSA. Defendant Ball participated in the decision to arrest and detain
    Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    34. Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 2 was, at all times relevant to this action, an
    employee of the TSA. At this time, her identity is not known to Ms. Hebshi. Upon information
    and belief, Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 2 participated in the detention and interrogation of
    Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause. She is sued in her individual capacity.

    ICE Defendants

    35. Defendant Unknown ICE Officer was, at all times, relevant to this action, an
    employee of ICE. At this time, his identity is not known to Ms. Hebshi. Defendant Unknown
    ICE Officer instructed ICE officers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to arrest and
    detain Ms. Hebshi with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or
    providing probable cause. He is sued in his individual capacity.

    36. Defendant Paul Brumley was, at all times relevant to this action, a Special Agent
    with ICE. Defendant Brumley participated in Ms. Hebshi’s arrest with no articulable facts

    (page 10)

    connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause. He is sued in his
    individual capacity.

    STATEMENT OF FACTS

    Frontier Airlines’ Identification of Ms. Hebshi As A Suspect

    37. Shoshana Hebshi is a 36-year-old freelance journalist who lives in Sylvania,
    Ohio, near Toledo, Ohio, with her husband and sons.

    38. Ms. Hebshi was born and raised in California. She studied journalism at
    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and later as a graduate student at Iowa
    State University. She wrote for several newspapers and then worked for the faculty union at
    California State University. Since moving to Ohio in June 2011 for her husband’s medical
    residency, she has been working at home as a freelance journalist so she can help care for their
    young sons.

    39. In September 2011, Ms. Hebshi spent Labor Day weekend with her sister in San
    Francisco, California. On September 11, 2011, Ms. Hebshi flew home unaccompanied to her
    family in Sylvania, Ohio. Ms. Hebshi’s destination airport was Detroit Metropolitan Wayne
    County Airport, which is approximately 60 miles from Sylvania. Her car was parked in a lot at
    the airport in Detroit.

    40. Ms. Hebshi cleared airport security at San Francisco International Airport, where
    she boarded a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver, Colorado.
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    41. At Denver International Airport, without ever leaving the airport or security zone,
    Ms. Hebshi boarded a connecting flight, Frontier Airlines flight 623 to Detroit, Michigan.

    42. On the flight from Denver to Detroit, Ms. Hebshi sat in seat 12A, a window seat
    in a row with three seats. At no point during the flight did she leave her seat.

    (page 11)

    43. The aisle and middle seats, 12B and 12C, were occupied by two men of South
    Asian descent.

    44. Ms. Hebshi did not know the two men seated beside her, nor did she speak to
    them before the plane landed in Detroit.

    45. During the flight, some flight attendants and passengers noticed that the two men
    seated in Ms. Hebshi’s row were acting in a way that they considered to be suspicious.
    Specifically, these flight attendants and passengers alleged that the men went to the restroom
    around the same time and each spent ten, fifteen or twenty minutes there. Some passengers and
    flight attendants also reported that the men were standing in the aisle for long periods.

    46. None of the passengers or flight attendants either observed or reported anything
    suspicious about Ms. Hebshi or her conduct during or after the flight.

    47. Shortly before 3:00 p.m., flight attendants alerted the pilot, Captain Laurence
    Pucci, that two men of “possibly Arab descent” had been observed repeatedly going to the
    bathroom and standing in the aisle for long periods of time.

    48. Captain Pucci sent a message to Frontier Airlines dispatch through the Aircraft
    Communications Addressing and Reporting System (“ACARS”), asking for information about
    the passengers seated in 12B and 12C, whom he and the flight attendants believed were acting
    strangely and who were repeatedly using the restroom.

    49. Upon receiving Captain Pucci’s message, Mark Fraley, Frontier Airlines Sector
    Operations Control Shift Manager, forwarded it to several individuals including Frontier staff.
    He provided the names of the passengers in 12B and 12C, added the name of the passenger in
    seat 12A (Ms. Hebshi), and commented that she might also be with the two men.

    (page 12)

    50. Mr. Fraley’s email suggesting that Ms. Hebshi might be with the two men was not
    based on any actual facts or credible information. Upon information and belief, Ms. Hebshi’s
    name and seat assignment were the only facts available to Mr. Fraley. Based on this
    information, Mr. Fraley assumed Ms. Hebshi knew the two men and might be involved in
    suspicious activity.

    51. Frontier Airlines Manager Tammara Faforke passed along Mr. Fraley’s email to a
    TSA air marshal and to Officer Duncan, a Wayne County Airport Authority Police Officer, who
    in turn passed it along to Defendant Grant, a Wayne County Airport Authority Police Officer.

    52. Defendant Grant relayed to Defendants Driscoll and Carmona, also officers with
    Wayne County Airport Authority Police, the information contained in Mr. Fraley’s email,
    including that Ms. Hebshi may have been traveling with the two men.

    53. The TSA also contacted Wayne County Airport Authority and reported suspicious
    passenger behavior on Frontier Airlines flight 623.

    54. At approximately 3:00 p.m., Defendant Jeremy Bohn, the Officer-in-Charge for
    Wayne County Airport Authority Police during these events, went to wait for the airplane at the
    designated inspection site, along with Defendants Thomas Pipis, David Lakatos and Nathaniel
    Devins, all agents with CBP; Defendant Robert Ball of the TSA; Defendant John Etling of the
    Joint Terrorism Task Force (a multi-agency law enforcement unit under the direction of the FBI); an air marshal; and other Wayne County Airport Authority Police Officers and employees of the TSA, the FBI.

    55. At the inspection site, Defendant Officer Johnson of the Wayne County Airport
    Authority Police spoke via cell phone with Frontier Airlines Captain Pucci, who told Defendant
    Johnson that a male passenger from row 12 had entered the airplane restroom for a long period

    (page 13)

    of time, while the other man from row 12 stood outside. According to Defendant Johnson: “The
    Captain stated that a third passenger seated in 12A may also be involved in the incident but is
    seated and compliant at this time.”

    56. Upon information and belief, none of the state or federal officers who received
    information about these passengers requested further information or evidence regarding Ms.
    Hebshi’s alleged involvement in suspicious activities. Accordingly, they acted based on the
    perceived ethnicity, national origin, or race of Ms. Hebshi’s name, as they had no articulable
    facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to suspicion of criminal activity.

    The Unlawful Arrest, Detention and Strip Search of Ms. Hebshi

    57. Agents and employees of the FBI, the TSA, CBP, and Wayne County Airport
    Authority Police collaborated and put into place a plan to divert and board the aircraft, arrest Ms. Hebshi and the two men sitting next to her, and remove them to a detention facility at the airport for questioning.

    58. Defendant Grant organized the tactical entry of the flight with the assistance and
    participation of Defendant Johnson and CBP officers.

    59. Defendant Driscoll determined that a tactical entry was needed and recommended
    to Defendant Mark DeBeau, Vice President of Public Safety for the Wayne County Airport
    Authority, that all three passengers in row 12 be removed from the plane and taken to Building
    358, a detention facility at the airport, for further investigation.

    60. Defendant DeBeau, also present at the inspection site, authorized this plan of
    action.

    61. Defendant Driscoll then told the agents on site that the suspects, including Ms.
    Hebshi, were to be handcuffed upon contact.

    (page 14)

    62. Based on the information these state and federal officers had at the time, there
    were no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause
    to arrest or detain her.

    63. When the plane landed, Captain Pucci announced on the loudspeaker that the
    plane would be diverted to another area of the airport. He warned the passengers that there
    would be consequences if they left their seats.

    64. Ms. Hebshi noticed that there were numerous law enforcement vehicles around
    the plane and wondered if there was a fugitive on the airplane.

    65. She called her husband to let him know the flight would be delayed but that she
    did not know why or for how long.

    66. The aircraft taxied to the inspection site and a van with stairs approached the
    aircraft.

    67. Ms. Hebshi was relieved because she thought this meant that she and the other
    passengers would be allowed to leave.

    68. Instead, at approximately 4:25 p.m., Defendants Carmona, Bohn, Johnson and
    Defendant ICE Special Agent Brumley, along with other officers, boarded the plane, heavily
    armed, and ran down the aisle where Ms. Hebshi and the other two men in her row were seated.

    69. Several officers shouted at the passengers to keep their heads down and put their
    hands on the seat in front of them.

    70. Ms. Hebshi was stunned when the officers stopped at her row and yelled at her
    and the two men seated beside her to get up.
     
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    71. Ms. Hebshi asked what was happening but received no reply. She asked if she
    could take her cell phone and was told no.

    (page 15)

    72. Defendant Carmona put Ms. Hebshi in handcuffs and put flex-cuffs on the
    passenger in 12B.

    73. Ms. Hebshi and the two men in her row were then forcefully rushed down the
    aisle and stairs and out of the plane.

    74. Ms. Hebshi was shocked, frightened, and humiliated as she was taken off the
    plane, in front of the other passengers.

    75. Once outside the airplane, Ms. Hebshi was pushed roughly against a police car
    and made to spread her legs while she was pat searched.

    76. The officer asked Ms. Hebshi if she was wearing any explosives, to which she
    said no.

    77. Ms. Hebshi asked what was happening but no one would reply.

    78. Defendant Bradley of the Wayne County Airport Authority Police then put Ms.
    Hebshi in the back of a police car with one of the men from her row and drove them to Building
    358.

    79. This was Ms. Hebshi’s first experience in the back of a police car and she felt
    deeply embarrassed and scared.

    80. Upon arriving at Building 358, Ms. Hebshi, still handcuffed, was taken out of the
    car and to a cell.

    81. The cell was approximately six by ten feet and had a metal cot. A video camera
    hung above the toilet.

    82. A male officer came to the door and asked if she spoke English. Ms. Hebshi said
    yes, she speaks English and is a U.S. citizen.

    (page 16)

    83. The officer told her he would stand by the door to make sure she did not “flush
    anything” down the toilet.

    84. Ms. Hebshi badly needed to use the toilet, but given that she was handcuffed, a
    male guard was standing at her door, and a video camera hung above the toilet, she did not.

    85. At approximately 4:40 p.m., Defendant Wasiukanis of Wayne County Airport
    Authority Police conferred with Defendant FBI Special Agent John Brand, and they decided that
    the three passengers, including Ms. Hebshi, should be strip searched.

    86. According to the standard operating procedures in effect for the Wayne County
    Airport Authority, “A person shall not be strip searched unless the person is being lodged into a
    detention facility, by order of a court or there is reasonable cause to believe that the person is
    concealing a weapon, controlled substance, or evidence of a crime.”

    87. There were no facts suggesting that Ms. Hebshi was concealing a weapon, a
    controlled substance, or any other evidence of a crime that might justify a strip search. The
    decision to strip search Ms. Hebshi was made with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause.

    88. One hour passed before a female officer came to perform the strip search. During
    the hour, no evidence emerged to suggest that Ms. Hebshi was involved in criminal activity,
    carrying contraband, or otherwise had done anything that would provide reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying a strip search.

    89. Once on the scene, Defendant Toya Parker of the Wayne County Airport
    Authority Police came into Ms. Hebshi’s cell and told her she was going to be strip searched.
    90. Ms. Hebshi was afraid and began to cry.

    (page 17)

    91. Defendant Parker took off Ms. Hebshi’s handcuffs and told her to remove all
    clothing, including her underwear and bra, so that she was completely naked. Defendant Parker
    instructed Ms. Hebshi to stand facing the wall, away from the video camera, so that at least part
    of her body would be concealed.

    92. Ms. Hebshi was instructed to bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough while
    Officer Parker stood a couple of feet away and watched.

    93. Defendant Parker then instructed Ms. Hebshi to take her hair down from its
    ponytail so Defendant Parker could feel through Ms. Hebshi’s hair.

    94. Defendant Parker lifted Ms. Hebshi’s eyelids and looked in her mouth.

    95. Finally, Defendant Parker told Ms. Hebshi to put her clothes back on.

    96. Ms. Hebshi was shocked and humiliated as a result of this search.

    97. Before leaving the cell, Officer Parker put the handcuffs back on Ms. Hebshi’s
    wrists.

    98. Ms. Hebshi asked the male officer at the door to her cell if she could call her
    husband, who did not know where she was. The officer told her she could use the phone later.

    99. After approximately two more hours, an officer came to get Ms. Hebshi and
    brought her to an interview room where an FBI agent and, upon information and belief, a TSA
    agent awaited her.

    100. Defendant Unknown FBI Officer 2 and Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 2 then
    proceeded to question Ms. Hebshi about her family, her previous travel, and the two men sitting
    next to her on the flight.
     
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    101. Unknown FBI Officer 2 told Ms. Hebshi that someone had reported her and the
    two men in her row as being engaged in suspicious activity during the flight.

    (page 18)

    102. The interview lasted approximately half an hour.

    103. At the close of the interview, Ms. Hebshi, who had been detained for over three
    hours, asked if she could use a toilet. The agents allowed her to use the officers’ restroom.

    104. Before Ms. Hebshi was returned to her cell, her handcuffs were removed, and she
    was fingerprinted and asked her date and place of birth, weight, and height.

    105. Defendant Unknown TSA Officer 2 then came into Ms. Hebshi’s cell with Ms.
    Hebshi’s phone and required that Ms. Hebshi show the Twitter messages she had sent out from
    the airplane upon landing, as well as her Facebook profile.

    106. At approximately 7:30 p.m., Defendant Brand authorized the release of all three
    suspects.

    107. Ms. Hebshi was finally allowed to call her husband and let him know that she was
    okay and could leave soon. As soon as she started to speak to her husband, Ms. Hebshi cried.

    108. When Ms. Hebshi was finally allowed to leave the detention facility at
    approximately 8:00 p.m., she saw the two other detained passengers, who had also been released, as they reclaimed their bags.

    109. As a result of being arrested, detained, and strip searched, Ms. Hebshi continues
    to experience anxiety when traveling. She also continues to feel distress and humiliation based
    on this experience of being singled-out because of her ethnicity, race or national origin.

    (page 19)

    CAUSES OF ACTION
    COUNT I
    VIOLATION OF 42 U.S.C. § 1981
    Discrimination Based on Race or Ethnicity
    (Defendant Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    110. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    111. Intentional race discrimination in the formation and enforcement of contracts is
    prohibited under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

    112. Mark Fraley, Sector Operations Control Shift Manager for Frontier Airlines, was
    an employee of Defendant Frontier Airlines acting within the scope of his employment at all
    times relevant to this complaint.

    113. Mr. Fraley identified Ms. Hebshi as a suspect because of her perceived ethnicity
    or race.

    114. Defendant Frontier Airlines is liable for the unlawful acts of its agents and
    employees directly and/or under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

    115. In reporting Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement agencies as a
    security threat, Defendant Frontier Airlines engaged in intentional discrimination on the basis of Ms. Hebshi’s perceived race, color, alienage, or ethnicity. In so doing, Defendant Frontier
    Airlines discriminated against Ms. Hebshi in the making and enforcement of her contract with
    Defendant Frontier Airlines, namely the ticket she purchased to travel on Frontier Airlines Flight 623 on September 11, 2011.

    116. Defendant acted with reckless or callous indifference to Ms. Hebshi’s right to be
    free from discrimination in the making and enforcement of her contract with Frontier Airlines,
    entitling her to punitive damages.

    (page 20)

    117. Defendant Frontier Airline’s actions deprived Ms. Hebshi of the right to make and
    enforce contracts regardless of her race or ethnicity, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

    118. Ms. Hebshi suffered intentional discrimination from Frontier Airlines, which
    singled her out as a suspect because of her name. Ms. Hebshi is a member of a protected class
    under § 1981 who, while receiving Frontier Airlines services as a passenger, was deprived of her
    right to receive and enjoy those services and treated in a hostile and objectively discriminatory
    manner.

    COUNT II
    VIOLATION OF TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
    Discrimination Based on Race, Ethnicity or National Origin
    (Defendant Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    119. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    120. Title VI and its implementing regulations prohibit recipients of federal financial
    assistance from discriminating on the basis of, inter alia, race, color, or national origin.

    121. Mark Fraley, Sector Operations Control Shift Manager for Frontier Airlines, was
    an employee of Defendant Frontier Airlines, acting within the scope of his employment at all
    times relevant to this complaint.

    122. Mr. Fraley referred Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement to be
    arrested, detained, and investigated because her perceived ethnicity, race or national origin based on her name.

    123. Defendant Frontier Airlines is liable for the unlawful acts of its agents and
    employees directly and/or under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

    124. Defendant Frontier Airlines is the recipient of federal funding and is therefore
    subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d.

    (page 21)

    125. In reporting Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement agencies as a
    security threat based on her ethnicity, race or national origin, Defendant Frontier Airlines
    discriminated against Ms. Hebshi in violation of Title VI and its implementing regulations.

    COUNT III
    VIOLATION OF 49 U.S.C. § 40127(A)
    Discrimination Based on Race, Ethnicity or National Origin in Air Travel
    (Defendant Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    126. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    127. Title 49 U.S.C. § 40127(a) prohibits an airline from subjecting a passenger to
    “discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry.”

    128. Mark Fraley, Sector Operations Control Shift Manager for Frontier Airlines, was
    an employee of Defendant Frontier Airlines acting within the scope of his employment at all
    times relevant to this complaint.

    129. Mr. Fraley identified Ms. Hebshi as a suspect, and so caused her to be referred to
    state and federal law enforcement to be arrested, detained, and investigated because of her
    perceived ethnicity, race, or national origin based on her name.

    130. Defendant Frontier Airlines is liable for the unlawful acts of its agents and
    employees directly and/or under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

    131. In reporting Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement agencies as a
    security threat based on her ethnicity, race, or national origin, Defendant Frontier Airlines
    discriminated against Ms. Hebshi in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 40127(a).
     
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    125. In reporting Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement agencies as a
    security threat based on her ethnicity, race or national origin, Defendant Frontier Airlines
    discriminated against Ms. Hebshi in violation of Title VI and its implementing regulations.

    COUNT III
    VIOLATION OF 49 U.S.C. § 40127(A)
    Discrimination Based on Race, Ethnicity or National Origin in Air Travel
    (Defendant Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    126. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    127. Title 49 U.S.C. § 40127(a) prohibits an airline from subjecting a passenger to
    “discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry.”

    128. Mark Fraley, Sector Operations Control Shift Manager for Frontier Airlines, was
    an employee of Defendant Frontier Airlines acting within the scope of his employment at all
    times relevant to this complaint.

    129. Mr. Fraley identified Ms. Hebshi as a suspect, and so caused her to be referred to
    state and federal law enforcement to be arrested, detained, and investigated because of her
    perceived ethnicity, race, or national origin based on her name.

    130. Defendant Frontier Airlines is liable for the unlawful acts of its agents and
    employees directly and/or under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

    131. In reporting Ms. Hebshi to state and federal law enforcement agencies as a
    security threat based on her ethnicity, race, or national origin, Defendant Frontier Airlines
    discriminated against Ms. Hebshi in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 40127(a).

    (page 22)

    COUNT IV
    VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS—
    EQUAL PROTECTION
    Claim Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
    Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics
    (All Defendants Except United States of America, Toya Parker, and Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    132. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    133. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
    Constitution, which is applicable to the federal government under the Fifth Amendment,
    guarantees all persons equal protection of the laws.

    134. Defendants, who are employees of the Wayne County Airport Authority, the FBI,
    the TSA, CBP, and ICE, arrested and detained Ms. Hebshi because of her perceived ethnicity,
    race, or national origin based on her name and/or appearance. Defendants acted intentionally
    and unlawfully in discriminating against Ms. Hebshi on account of her perceived ethnicity, race,
    or national origin.

    135. Defendants acted under color of law and in the performance of their official duties
    under federal, state, county, or municipal laws, ordinances, or regulations in arresting and
    detaining Ms. Hebshi.

    136. Defendants’ conduct violated Ms. Hebshi’s clearly established constitutional right
    to equal protection of the laws of the United States.

    137. Defendants acted with reckless indifference or callous disregard for Ms. Hebshi’s
    right to equal protection of the laws, thus entitling her to punitive damages.

    138. These violations, as committed by employees of Wayne County Airport
    Authority, are redressable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. These violations, as committed by

    (page 23)

    employees of the FBI, the TSA, CBP, and ICE, are redressable under Bivens v. Six Unknown
    Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

    COUNT V
    VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS—
    UNREASONABLE SEIZURE
    Claim Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
    Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics
    (All Defendants Except United States of America, Toya Parker, and Frontier Airlines, Inc.)

    139. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    140. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is applicable to
    the States under the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

    141. Defendants, who are employees of the Wayne County Airport Authority, the FBI,
    the TSA, CBP, and ICE collaborated to order and effectuate Ms. Hebshi’s arrest and detention.
    Defendants acted intentionally and unlawfully in arresting and detaining Ms. Hebshi with no
    articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing probable cause.

    142. Defendants acted under color of law and in the performance of their official duties
    under federal, state, county, or municipal laws, ordinances, or regulations in arresting and
    detaining Ms. Hebshi.

    143. Defendants’ conduct violated Ms. Hebshi’s clearly established constitutional right
    to be free from unreasonable seizures.

    144. Defendants acted with reckless indifference or callous disregard for Ms. Hebshi’s
    right to be free from unreasonable seizures, thus entitling her to punitive damages.

    145. These violations, as committed by employees of Wayne County Airport
    Authority, are redressable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. These violations, as committed by

    (page 24)

    employees of the FBI, the TSA, CBP, and ICE, are redressable under Bivens v. Six Unknown
    Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

    COUNT VI
    VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS—
    UNREASONABLE SEARCH
    Claim Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
    Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics
    (Defendants Parker, Wasiukanis and Brand)

    146. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

    147. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is applicable to
    the States under the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

    148. With no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or providing
    probable cause, Defendants Wasiukanis and Brand intentionally and unlawfully ordered, and
    Defendant Parker intentionally and unlawfully performed, a strip search of Ms. Hebshi in
    violation of her right to be free from unreasonable searches.

    149. Defendants acted under color of law and in the performance of their official duties
    under federal, state, county, or municipal laws, ordinances, or regulations in subjecting Ms.
    Hebshi to a strip search.

    150. Defendants’ conduct violated Ms. Hebshi’s clearly established constitutional right
    to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    151. Defendants acted with reckless indifference or callous disregard for Ms. Hebshi’s
    right to be free from unreasonable searches, thereby entitling her to punitive damages.

    152. These violations, as committed by Defendants Parker and Wasiukanis of the
    Wayne County Airport Authority, are redressable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. These violations, as

    (page 25)

    committed by Defendant Brand of the FBI, are redressable under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

    COUNT VII
    CLAIMS UNDER THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT
    False Arrest and False Imprisonment
    (United States of America)

    153. Ms. Hebshi re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in
    the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein. At all times relevant to the complaint,
    Defendants Brand, Brumley, Pipis, Lakatos, and Devins and unknown agents of the FBI, TSA,
    CBP, and ICE, were employees of the United States, acting in the scope of their employment
    through their own actions and their directions to employees and agents, under circumstances that would render the United States, if a private person, liable for the damages that their actions
    caused Ms. Hebshi under Michigan law.

    154. Defendants Brand, Brumley, Pipis, Lakatos, and Devins and unknown agents of
    the FBI, the TSA, CBP, and ICE, individually and as agents of the United States of America,
    intentionally and unlawfully deprived Ms. Hebshi of her liberty by arresting and detaining her
    for several hours with no articulable facts connecting Ms. Hebshi to criminal activity or
    providing probable cause. These actions constitute the torts of false arrest and false
    imprisonment under Michigan law because defendants acted with the intention of confining Ms. Hebshi; the agents’ actions directly resulted in such confinement; and Ms. Hebshi was conscious of her confinement.

    155. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the United States of America is liable for
    these actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and 2674.

    (page 26)

    REQUEST FOR RELIEF

    WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Shoshana Hebshi respectfully requests that this Court:

    1. Declare that Defendant Frontier Airlines violated Ms. Hebshi’s rights to be free
    from discrimination as a passenger under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Title VI of the Civil
    Rights Act of 1964, and 49 U.S.C. § 40127(a);

    2. Declare that Ms. Hebshi’s constitutional rights to equal protection of the law
    under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment have been violated;

    3. Declare that Ms. Hebshi’s constitutional rights to be free of unreasonable searches
    and seizures under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment have been violated;

    4. Award Ms. Hebshi compensatory damages for the injury and distress she endured
    and continues to endure as a result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct;

    5. Award Ms. Hebshi punitive damages against the individual Defendants and
    Frontier Airlines for their unlawful conduct;

    6. Award Ms. Hebshi reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and

    7. Grant any other relief the Court deems appropriate.

    JURY DEMAND

    Plaintiff respectfully requests a jury trial on all issues triable to a jury.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Respectfully submitted,

    /s/ Sarah Mehta
    Sarah Mehta (P76024)
    Michael J. Steinberg (P43085)
    Kary L. Moss (P49759)
    American Civil Liberties Union
    Fund of Michigan
    2966 Woodward Avenue
    Detroit, MI 48201
    (313) 578-6823
    smehta@aclumich.org
    msteinberg@aclumich.org
    kmoss@aclumich.org

    /s/ William H. Goodman
    William H. Goodman (P14173)
    Julie H. Hurwitz (P34720)
    Kathryn Bruner James (P71374)
    Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C.
    Cooperating Attorneys, American Civil
    Liberties Union Fund of Michigan
    1394 E. Jefferson Ave.
    Detroit, MI 48207
    (313) 567-6170
    bgoodman@goodmanhurwitz.com
    jhurwitz@goodmanhurwitz.com
    kjames@goodmanhurwitz.com

    /s/ Dennis D. Parker*
    Dennis D. Parker
    Rachel E. Goodman*
    Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune*
    American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
    125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
    New York, NY 10004
    (212) 549-2500
    (212) 549-2651
    dparker@aclu.org
    rgoodman@aclu.org
    afonseca-sabune@aclu.org

    /s/ Anna Engh
    Anna Engh
    Shelli Calland*
    Arjun Sethi*
    Sarah Tremont (P73809)
    Covington & Burling LLP
    1201 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
    Washington D.C. 20004
    (202) 662-6000
    aengh@cov.com
    scalland@cov.com
    asethi@cov.com
    stremont@cov.com
     
  7. RB

    RB Founding Member

    It's not their money so I don't think they care (YET). That's why the individuals needs to be held personally accountable. Their money, their jail cell sentence.
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    "arrest and detention, with no articulable facts"

    Where ever you go at the Detroit airport, you don't want to visit Building 358. :eek:
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  9. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    At least, this will be some measure of accountability. What they did will be exposed in a court of law, and they will be revealed for the creeps they are. And the financial judgement will be on their records. What a bunch of f**k-ups, each and every one. The key piece, for me, is that the airline *sshole who overreacted is also being sued for doing so. That is a very welcome development. It'll make these jerks think twice.
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  10. RB

    RB Founding Member

    OK, why is Frontier Airlines (or any airline for that matter) getting government funding?

     
  11. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    ShoshanaHebshi.jpg

    American citizen Shoshana Hebshi, who was hauled off a plane in handcuffs, taken to a jail cell, and strip-searched, is finally suing the TSA.
    We wrote about Shoshana Hebshi here. She is one of the many victims of the post-9/11 paranoia and hysteria in this country. Many of us have been waiting for word of this lawsuit since Hebshi and two other men on that plane were abused on September 11, 2011.
    The ACLU is helping Hebshi sue both the TSA and Frontier Airlines, along with the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and other officials who were involved in her violation. I’d be surprised if this actually goes to trial; I would expect it to settle out of court.
    Then again, given how the jury sided with the TSA against Andrea Abbott and Carol Jean Price, maybe it will go to court. If those juries — and the hysterics on the plane who pointed fingers at Shoshana Hebshi — are any indication of the citizens in this country, we’re done for.
    (Photo: Courtesy of Shoshana Hebshi-Holt)
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  12. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    For security no doubt.
     
  13. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Love 'em or hate 'em, ACLU has a pretty good track record of winning. They only take cases where they are reasobaly certain that the verdict will change case law to meet an objective.

    This amateur's guess is that Frontier will bear the lion's share of the brunt of a verdict in her favor with the Government hiding behind immunity or (corrupt) regulations to shield itself.

    These people should be held personally responsible but won't be because they have a tin badge.
     
    KrazyKat likes this.
  14. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    False arrest and illegal strip search. There is no hiding on this one. Way way too egregious.
     
  15. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Outside of the area confines of the penalty box and Secret Squirrel Information, our rights are reconstituted, even pronounced:
    There are other places to look for violations.
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    There's now mainstream press and a national spotlight on this case! Previous coverage was mostly regional, e.g. Detroit, but this is great.

    ABC News: Half-Jewish, Half-Arab Woman Sues FBI, TSA, Frontier Airlines Over 9/11 Strip Search

    A half-Jewish, half-Arab Ohio woman is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other government agencies after she says was removed at gunpoint from a flight on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, strip-searched and jailed because of her ethnicity.
    "I know now that my only crime on that day was an ethnic name and arbitrary seat assignment," said Shoshana Hebshi, a 36-year-old freelance journalist born in California to a Jewish mother and a Saudi father, said at a press conference Tuesday.

    In her lawsuit, filed by the ACLU in Detroit federal court Tuesday, Hebshi alleges she was removed at gunpoint from a Denver to Detroit flight on Sept. 11, 2011, when passengers and flight crew became suspicious after two men of South-Asian descent seated next to her made several trips to the bathroom during the flight.

    "As officers boarded the plane," said Hebshi at the press conference, "we were ordered to put our heads down and our arms in front of us. I wondered if there was a fugitive on board. I had no idea they were coming for me. … I was completely shocked and panicked."

    ...
     
  17. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    From the news story:

    Yeah, we only searched the Arab parts of her.
     
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Christian Post: Woman Sues Over Strip Search: Claims She Was Forced Off Plane at Gun Point

    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.

     
  19. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Flying while brown, in the company of brown people.
     
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Story has one fact wrong based on information in the posted lawsuit, she was seated in the window seat not between the two men.
     

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