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Tue, 20 Jan 2009
by Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae
January 20, 2009
Reporting from Los Angeles and Oklahoma City -- Tamera Jo Freeman was on a Frontier
Airlines flight to Denver in 2007 when her two children began to quarrel over the
window shade and then spilled a Bloody Mary into her lap.
She spanked each of them on the thigh with three swats. It was a small incident, but
one that in the heightened anxiety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would
eventually have enormous ramifications for Freeman and her children.
Passengers pounce on man who made...
A rare dip in airline traffic in 2008
travel blog link
A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and
throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.
The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman's arrest and
conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot
Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and
"I had no idea I was breaking the law," said Freeman, 40, who spent three months in
jail before pleading guilty.
Freeman is one of at least 200 people on flights who have been convicted under the
amended law. In most of the cases, there was no evidence that the passengers had
attempted to hijack the airplane or physically attack any of the flight crew. Many
have simply involved raised voices, foul language and drunken behavior.
Some security experts say the use of the law by airlines and their employees has
run amok, criminalizing incidents that did not start out as a threat to public safety,
much less an act of terrorism.
more at LA Times