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Woman with Saudi and Jewish ancestry wins $40K in racial profiling settlement

An American woman of Saudi and Jewish descent has reached a settlement with Frontier Airlines and the U.S. government after being pulled off an airplane, detained and strip-searched.
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April 21, 2015

An American woman of Saudi and Jewish descent has reached a settlement with Frontier Airlines and the U.S. government after being pulled off an airplane, detained and strip-searched.

Under the settlement, Shoshana Hebshi will receive $40,000 from the federal government as compensation for the “severe humiliation she suffered,” according to a news release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Hebshi, a mother of two who was detained at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Sept. 11, 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The ACLU charged that Hebshi was singled out because of her Middle Eastern name and appearance.

In addition, Frontier said it will amend its employee handbook and training to “more clearly state its zero-tolerance policy on discrimination.”

“I filed this lawsuit because I didn’t want others to experience the kind of unnecessary trauma that I did, and it has given me faith that the justice system can work to protect constitutional rights,” Hebshi said in the news release.

“People do not forfeit their constitutional rights when they step onto an airplane,” said Rachel Goodman, an attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, in the news release. “This settlement sends that critical message, and will help protect future passengers from having to endure what Shoshana went through.”

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