Mom strip-searched at Detroit Airport awarded $40k

An Ohio mom of two who claims she was racially profiled and strip searched after landing in Detroit 2 1/2 years ago has been awarded $40,000 in a settlement.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Tuesday Shoshana Hebshi and the federal government had come to terms to settle the case. 

According to the ACLU, Hebshi was traveling home to Ohio on Sept. 11, 2011 after visiting her sister in California. She said she was flying on a Frontier Airlines plane and sitting next to two men of South Asian descent who she did not know. The ACLU said when the plane landed, armed agents boarded the plane and arrested the trio. 

The ACLU claims Hebshi, who is of Saudi Arabian and Jewish descent, was singled out because of her Middle Eastern name and appearance. 

Once off the plane, she was held in a cell for hours and strip-searched before finally being released. According to the ACLU, she learned she was pulled off the plane when fellow travelers were suspicious about the amount of time each man had spent in the bathroom.

All three were later released without charges filed.

In January 2013, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of Hebshi against Frontier Airlines and several government defendants. 

After several appeals and decisions, both sides came to terms with the $40,000 settlement to compensate her for her humiliation. Frontier will amend its employee handbook.

The Airport Authority released a statement this statement after the settlement:

"On September 11, 2011, our internationally accredited police department, working with our federal law enforcement partners, acted quickly and responsibly, and followed appropriate protocols in responding to a request for help from one of our airline partners," said CEO Thomas Naughton. "I strongly support their actions.  We remain committed to vigilantly protecting the safety of the travelling (sic) public - our number one priority."

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