Flying While Brown: Majorly Armed Cops Coming Aboard

by
Abby Zimet

Three people who sat in one row on a Denver-Detroit flight on 9/11 were hauled off the plane by a crowd of machine-gun-toting cops for being "suspicious." They were handcuffed, spread-eagled, strip-searched, tossed into cells and interrogated by two FBI agents who had done background checks on them and wanted to know their life stories. The three were strangers to each other: two men from India who lived in Detroit, and Shoshana Hebshi from suburban Ohio, a self-described "half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife" - and a blogger.

She finds herself in the police car with one of the Indian men: "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."

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