Shoshana Hebshi and two Indian men who sat next to her on a flight from Denver to Detroit were handcuffed, interrogated and strip-searched by Homeland Security officers Sunday.
Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Arab, half-Jewish mother from Ohio, thought it would be easy to fly on the anniversary of Sept. 11. But that was before her flight landed in Detroit, where she was promptly handcuffed and carted off to the airport detention facility for questioning.
Hebshi was eventually released without charges, but not before she was interrogated and strip-searched, all because a nervous passenger reported that she and her two Indian seatmates had spent a suspicious amount of time in the restroom.
An article by The Associated Press tells of how the three airline passengers were temporarily detained and questioned Sunday evening, and of how, out of “an abundance of caution,” two F-16s were sent to shadow the plane.
But Hebshi’s blog makes clear at least one thing that the AP article misses: Those three passengers detained from Frontier Flight 623 were unapologetically racially profiled and stripped, not only of their clothes, but of their rights. —BF
Hebshi’s blog, Stories from the Heartland:
Silly me. I thought flying on 9/11 would be easy. I figured most people would choose not to fly that day so lines would be short, planes would be lightly filled and though security might be ratcheted up, we’d all feel safer knowing we had come a long way since that dreadful Tuesday morning 10 years ago.
But then armed officers stormed my plane, threw me in handcuffs and locked me up.
My flight from Denver landed in Detroit on time. I sent a text message to my husband to let him know we had landed and I would be home by dinner. The plane stopped on the tarmac, seemingly waiting to have the gate cleared. We waited. I played on my phone, checking Facebook, scrolling through my Twitter feed. After a while of sitting there, I decided to call my husband to tell him the plane was being delayed and I would call him when I got off the plane.
Just as I hung up the phone, the captain came over the loudspeaker and announced that the airport authorities wanted to move the airplane to a different part of the airport. Must be a blocked gate or something, I thought. But then he said: Everyone remain in your seats or there will be consequences. Sounded serious. I looked out the window and saw a squadron of police cars following the plane, lights flashing. I turned to my neighbor, who happened to be an Indian man, in wonderment. What is going on? Others on the plane were remarking at the police as well. Getting a little uneasy, I decided the best thing for me to do was to tweet about the experience. If the plane was going to blow up, at least there’d be some record on my part.