Really, TSA?

St Jude Brain Tumor Patient is Injured and Arrested

I’ve had my complaints about the TSA for years, but this is beyond disturbing. Officers misinterpreted the confusion of a girl just operated on for a brain tumor and instead of listening to her mother’s explanation, slammed her head into the ground, causing further injury and trauma to her brain. This was not some muscular, threatening man they were restraining, but a 19 year old girl with vision loss, partially deaf and partially paralyzed, who was simply trying to get away. What on earth did they think she was going to do that necessitated such violence?

Then, her face bleeding, her luggage already on the way home, they threw her in prison.

There is NO excuse for this! I understand that her behavior looked like something else and that these officers are trained to react, but her mother was there trying to explain. It’s not OK to ignore the mother and slam a girl’s head into the ground. It’s not OK to taser innocent people whose behavior seems a little “off” due to autism or Down Syndrome (google – there are MANY stories about this happening, and there have been deaths). This is not an isolated incident; it’s part of a pattern of police and other officials reacting with unnecessary violence to the behavior of people with cognitive differences. It’s discrimination against the disabled and cognitively impaired, and it’s an abuse of power. Police need training on how disabilities can affect behavior and appearance and on dealing with such situations in safe, nonviolent ways.

I hope that the young woman’s family wins their lawsuit against the airport and the TSA and that this story gets plenty of publicity.


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