A flight on the 9/11 anniversary ended in handcuffs and a strip search for housewife, as well as a strip search of an Arab-Jewish blogger and two other passengers.
No charges were filed against Hebshi, a self-described “half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio,” or the two men sitting next to her, who were flying in from Denver when the crew of Frontier Airlines Flight 623 alerted authorities that they were reportedly behaving suspiciously.
In a blog post titled, “Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit,” Hebshi, an American citizen, told her tale of
temporary detainment, which she had begun to share with Twitter followers in real-time — until handcuffs were placed on her wrists.
Hebshi, a writer and editor, and mother of twin sons, didn’t know the other two passengers in Row 12. They were Indian men, she wrote. And they didn’t know each other. But they got a lot closer when they were all crammed into the back of a squad car.
The flight crew became suspicious when one of the males, who was not feeling well, got up to use the restroom during the flight. The second male got up at approximately the same time to use the restroom. The woman remained seated. Crews reported that the men sitting next to Hebshi were spending an extradonarily amount of time in the lavatory. Amid heightened security fears on the tenth anniversary of the 2001 attacks, no one was taking chances.
After authorities were notified, F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane as it landed in Detroit in a remote location on the tarmac and waited for backup. Hebshi sent one more tweet about armed officers as they stormed the plane. They stopped at Hebshi’s row, yelling at the three passengers to get up. Hebshi asked if she could bring her phone; one of the officers told her she couldn’t as he yanked her out of her seat.
“What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers!” she quipped in her blog post.
The three were asked if they had any explosives on them, and then put in the back of a squad car next to the plane. Hebshi and her seatmates’ next stop would be holding cells at the airport police station.
Hours later, after being strip-searched and interrogated by the FBI and Homeland Security, Hebshi was allowed to leave. The other 113 passengers on board were bused from the tarmac, some to nearby police headquarters for questioning, and bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in to inspect luggage from the plane, a passenger told The Associated Press. Police interviewed them one at a time, according to her post. Nothing suspicious was found.
Hebshi did not return emails from msnbc.com, and had taken down contact information on her blog Tuesday. The names of the other passengers detained on Sunday have not been released. But Hebshi recalled the incident in great detail on her blog; the FBI did not comment on the specifics of the detainment.
The full story was written and posted By Elizabeth Chuck