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Shoshana Hebshi, a woman with a Saudi father & a Jewish mother, was traveling on Sept. 11, 2011, when she was detained with two Indian men who happened to be sitting in the same row as she was.  When her plane arrived in Detroit, it was diverted because someone had told the crew that she & the men were acting suspiciously.  Then the police entered the plane.

Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at the three of us to get up. “Can I bring my phone?” I asked, of course. What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers! No, one of the cops said, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.

The cops brought us to a parked squad car next to the plane, had us spread  our legs and arms. Mine asked me if I was wearing any explosives. “No,” I said, holding my tongue to not let out a snarky response. I wasn’t sure what I could and could not say, and all that came out was “What’s going on?”

No one would answer me. They  put me in the back of the car. It’s a plastic seat, for all you out there who have never been tossed into the back of a police car. It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s humiliating. The Indian man who had sat next to me on the plane was already in the backseat. I turned to him, shocked, and asked him if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he knew the other man that had been in our row, and he said he had just met him. I said, it’s because of what we look like. They’re doing this because of what we look like. And I couldn’t believe that I was being arrested and taken away.

After four hours of sitting in a cell with a full bladder, she was questioned by Homeland Security & FBI agents.  They eventually released her & the two Indians from custody.  A policeman drove her to her car in an airport parking lot & she drove home.  Apparently Ms. Hebshi & the Indian men got swept up because of the high state of alert due to the news stories stating Al Qaeda had sent three operatives to make an attack in the US during the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Well, hearing this story, I now have the suspicion that the Al Qaeda attack rumor was supposed to make Americans freak out & attack each other.  We fell for it.
Read the account on her blog: Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit
Hat tip to Boing Boing.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Whoever reported "suspicious" activity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friendlystranger

    owes these people a personal apology.  The authorities have little choice but to act on such tips, under high-alert conditions.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 11:19:40 AM PDT

  •  I reported someone right after 9/11 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greatdarkspot, isabelle hayes

    and no I am not proud of it but his ID did not match his ticket and his only ID was a student ID, not exactly very convincing. And yes he was arab and he had NEW clothes, new shoes, NO carryon, no book, nothing and it was two months after 9/11.

    The pilot had him questioned and then he got back on the plane and we left pretty much on time.

    But accusers should have to share WHAT they find suspicious, not just feelings.

  •  The essence of crime is to deprive (3+ / 0-)

    another person of his/her human rights (privacy, mobility, association, speech, bodily integrity, etc.).  Whether that deprivation is occasioned by an ordinary person or an agent of government, doesn't really matter.  What matters is that deprivation of rights is a crime, unless it is lawfully imposed  as punishment AFTER a prior deprivation is found and proved to have been committed.

    The order is important.  Punishment follows crime.  If punishment is imposed first, it is transformed into a crime.

    So, the police agency whose employees acted precipitously needs to be sued for an unlawful deprivation of rights.  The notion that crime can be prevented by instituting a punitive regime as the norm is just plain wrong because deprivation of rights under cover of law is still a crime.  Calling it legal, doesn't make it so.  And to top it all off, a regimen of deprivation is destructive of justice itself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

    by hannah on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 11:55:29 AM PDT

    •  but interrogators want to break a prisoner (0+ / 0-)

      so the process begins with the first question.  Consider this case, presented from 3 POVs
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...
      http://prosecutorialrant.blogspot.com/...
      http://www.billywaynecope.com/

      •  Our justice system relies entirely too much (0+ / 0-)

        on what people say.  The prosecutor wanting to get some video exposure strikes me as inappropriate.

        We expect people to admit a mistake.  That's not what happens.  Guilt seems to make people double down to PROVE they weren't wrong.

        Besides, the presumption of innocence has devolved into little more than a starter pistol for the contest between prosecution and defense. They're into winning in front of a jiggered jury to convince future defendants to take a plea, rather than risk a conviction.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

        by hannah on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 02:47:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: cope case, what was striking to me was (0+ / 0-)

          the prosecutor's insistence that he have complete control over the jurors after the trial and evidently he has them frightened that if Cope is freed they can be sued for false imprisonment.  The jurors who do speak on camera appear to be almost brainwashed as the guy is so adamant about his decision and he has such a blank stare and lack of affect

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