In an appalling case of police brutality, a 71-year-old deaf Florida woman found herself spending three days in jail and suffering a broken arm at the hands of Austin’s finest. All of this happened simply because she was unable to hear instructions from a gate agent at an airport and asked twice to get on an earlier flight.
As violent crime rates continue to rise and go unsolved across the nation, this incident serves as a chilling reminder of how police choose to go after “low-hanging fruit” and target vulnerable individuals in our society rather than violent criminals.
On September 13, 2022, Karen McGee was connecting in Austin on her way to Seattle. As a nervous flyer traveling alone for the first time in her life, she was already feeling overwhelmed. To make matters worse, her hearing aid wasn’t functioning properly.
Unbeknownst to her, she missed a gate change announcement for her flight. As her departure time passed and she didn’t see her flight boarding, she approached an Alaska Airlines gate agent for assistance. Although she was rebooked on a later flight that evening, McGee mistakenly thought there was another plane at the same gate headed to Seattle and inquired if she could get on that flight instead.
Struggling to hear the agent’s explanation, McGee asked another Alaska Airlines employee for help. Shockingly, instead of providing assistance to the senior citizen, the agent called the police.