Shoshana Hebshi, Ohio woman shocked by being taken from plane in US
Shoshana Hebshi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday that she believes she was targeted because of her Middle Eastern appearance.
An U.S. woman who was one of three people taken off an airplane at Detroit's airport and questioned on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks says she was shocked when armed officers stopped at her row and ordered her off.Skip to next paragraph
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Shoshana Hebshi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday that she believes she was targeted because of her Middle Eastern appearance. Hebshi, who describes herself as half-Arabic, half-Jewish with a dark complexion, said she endured nearly four hours in police custody that included being forced off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated.
Authorities say fighter jets escorted the Denver-to-Detroit Frontier Airlines flight after its crew reported that two people were spending a long time in a bathroom — the two men sitting next to Hebshi in the 12th row.
The FBI has said the three didn't know each other. One man felt ill and got up to use the restroom and another man in the same row also left his seat to go to the bathroom. The FBI said they never were inside together.
Hebshi told the AP she didn't notice how many times the men went to the bathroom. "I wasn't keeping track," she said.
"I really wasn't paying attention," said Hebshi, a freelance writer, editor and stay-at-home mother of twin six-year-old boys. "I was minding my own business — sleeping, reading, playing on my phone."
Hebshi has written extensively on her blog about the incident, saying she felt "violated, humiliated and sure that I was being taken from the plane simply because of my appearance."
She said by email Wednesday morning that she planned to speak with representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan later in the day. She has made no firm decisions about taking legal action, but said "it seems there are some civil rights violations to consider here."
After the plane landed, she wrote several posts on Twitter about what was going on as those aboard waited while police descended. "A little concerned about this situation. Plane moved away from terminal surrounded by cops. Crew is mum. Passengers can't get up," she wrote at one point.
Later she wrote, "I see stairs coming our way...yay!" Her last post said, "Majorly armed cops coming aboard."
It's then than she says the officers ordered her and the men, whom she described as Indian, to get up.
She said she was patted down and taken by car to a holding cell. A uniformed female officer eventually came in and told Hebshi to take off her clothes.