Woman Arrested At LAX By Mistake, Jailed For 13 Days, And Then Her Grandmother Died

The late Senator Ted Kennedy was flagged at the airport because his name was similar to someone on the No Fly List.* Delta’s CEO wants to expand the use of these lists. And of course we can totally trust that only bad people will be hassled, right? Because law enforcement doesn’t make mistakes.

Tell that to Bethany Farber who was arrested at LAX and jailed for two weeks because, police say, she had the same name as someone else with an outstanding warrant. Here’s what the two women look like, side-by-side, so you can understand the officers’ confusion. The woman on the right is who they arrested:


Credit: Rodney Diggs/Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs

Ms. Farber was at the gate waiting for a flight to Mexico. Her name was paged. TSA took her and told her to put her “things down and go against the wall and put my hands up.” She was arrested on “a statewide fugitive warrant in Texas” even though she’d never been to Texas. She explains,

All I could think was that it wasn’t me. I just kept insisting that they check … that they double check because they had the wrong person, and I made that very clear. I told them over and over again, and they just completely blew me off.

She was handcuffed to a chair while waiting for LAPD to arrive. They didn’t verify that her date of birth, photo, social security number or fingerprints matched the person sought on the warrant. She spent 12 nights and 13 days in jail. Three quarters of the way through this, LA officials were reportedly informed by Texas that they had the wrong person and continued to hold her anyway.

Ms. Farber’s 90 year old grandmother learned of her arrest, had a stroke, and died. The 30 year old victim “missed a lot of her last days in the hospital.”

* Even those that have tried to debunk Senator Kennedy’s No Fly List claim concede he was confused with someone on a different list and just argue over which secret list it was.

(HT: Eye Of The Flyer)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Disgusting levels of incompetence. I’m sure it won’t happen but hope it forces the various forces to reevaluate their policies and what went wrong along with whatever hefty sum she will make off the back of taxpayers.

  2. Never mind the incompetence of law enforcement, I’m thinking someone has a really crappy lawyer…

  3. After reading this article, I believe I should pre-select lawyers in case I have any kind of trouble.

  4. The suspect and the other woman look the same if you ignore the dyed hair and make up covering up the complexion.

  5. ouch – other than both being non-Hispanic caucasian females who appear to be in the same general decade of age, they look nothing even remotely alike wrt any single facial feature, much less the composite of those. @derek, please, please, please don’t ever pick someone out of a lineup should you witness a crime. lol.

  6. How can she not be a millionaire within the next few months? This level of incompetence has to be actionable.

  7. This won’t end until each cop and his family is personally held accountable by the public for his actions. Cops are currently protected by the legal system if they make an error. I wouldn’t fault a victim or the victims family taking any independent measures to gain justice. Maybe cops will think twice about arresting someone without absolute verification if they faced severe consequences for their actions. Any result that doesn’t have the cops who arrested her, held her, and those who jailed her lose their freedom for life is a crime against humanity and an injustice. If I were her, I would have blood lust for life and would make it my life’s mission to avenge it 10000000 times over.

  8. It’s an awful, terrible ordeal that won’t really be over until a platoon of attorneys are driving new Porsches and the victim has banked generational wealth, but even then I wouldn’t take the first offer

  9. The two weeks in jail isn’t the worst part, it’s the side effects. In two weeks she potentially could have lost her job & kids. Hopefully she has her bills on autopay & her pay on direct deposit otherwise she will be fighting with the three credit bureaus for a very long time to fix her ruined credit.

    Even if they look alike (they don’t), there’s no excuse for this lazy incompetence.

  10. Fringerprints is unique. No other people have the same print.
    DNA done?
    Fingerprinting done?

    Embbarassing truth at the expense of Innocent ppl

  11. When I was entering the Philippines (immigration) about 25 years ago, I was pulled aide and taken into a private room for 3 hours. Someone with my exact name was wanted by the police. I don’t if it was in the Philippines or somewhere else. The good thing (and professional thing) was that the Philippine national police asked for a photo of the wanted person. When that photo arrived, they knew the wanted person WAS NOT ME. They released me, apologized, and wished me a good trip. From what I considered a second or third world country, THIS IS HOW SUCH A POLICE ACTION SHOULD BE DONE. (@Gene – Hahaha)

  12. I was driving on the freeway one morning, daylight hours and very light traffic. There was a patrol car driving very slowly in the far right lane and all the other traffic slowed down because of him. I kept my speed, just slower than the speed limit, 3 lanes away from him and out of the way if the slowing traffic. He saw me drive past and pulled me over. His first statement was that ‘it seemed like you were going too fast.’ I told him exactly what happened, ^^, and I asked him the speed he had clocked me going. I really think i got lucky that he hadn’t actually seen my speed. He found something to accuse me of and i had no way to contradict what he said. And in the case of this girl it’s amazing that even with contradictory things like name and fingerprints they still messed it up

  13. Lawsuits against governmental entities for actions like those described in this post are among the most difficult cases to successfully pursue. Most lawyers won’t even take them for that very reason. Without some immediately and obviously evident basis for animus against the victim that is constitutionally protected, such as race, gender, religion, etc. a state actor’s gross incompetence is rarely actionable. And even when a case can be made for bad acts based upon a discriminatory motivation, the climb to justice is steeply uphill and often ends with no pot of gold. Qualified immunity protects most state actors from their grossly negligent acts. I would be surprised to see any lawsuit bringing in millions in this poor gal’s future.

  14. I’m definitely not a defund the police guy but this kind of shit gives that group all the ammo that they need.

    Incompetence reigns supreme in L.A. once AGAIN

  15. @Karl Rupp

    As I’ve said, nothing will change until cops are personally held accountable for their actions. If the victim takes extralegal action, she would have morality on her side. When a system is designed to allow for abuses, the only way to change that is to go outside of that system. Any conservative who supports the police is not a real conservative.

  16. @Jackson Waterson s when the officer’s protection is gone (like it is for everyone else in the world) These IDIOTS , yes they are because every one else checks things out BEFORE they cut off the wrong leg now or take out your ovaries on a guy. KISS= Keep It Simple Stuipd….. do not arrest someone unless you KNOW what you are doing.

  17. @derek, do you often just spit out whatever comes to mind, regardless of how nonsensical is sounds/is?
    Looking at them both *critically* one sees:
    one round face, one oval
    one brown eyed, one blue
    differing eyebrows, noses, chins (one has a dimple, ffs)

    Yup, change the color of the hair, and they’re practically twins!
    @derek, you were being sarcastic, right?

  18. Save your breath Larry B. derek with a small d (as he insists) spews on other blogs too. When I see his name I just scroll on by. Nothing to see there. Let us not feed the trolls please. Of course, it’s a rule I freely admit I violate sometimes. Occasionally, the low hanging fruit is just too tasty to pass up…..

  19. Jails do not like empty space. It does not generate revenue. I once had a warrant in Oregon from a local court because I had sparred with the judge over such serious issues as bicycle violations. The jail in that county had no respect for these court actions and would have released me immediately. But I was stopped for a contrived reason in another county and they arrested and held me for several days without notifying the county with the warrant, which would have told them to release me and send me home with a court date. The arresting country had an abundance of jail space to pay for. The sheriff there was also later involved in corruption scandals.

    It’s all about the money.

  20. @Jackson Waterson, no doubt there was a wrong here, consisting of at least callous and gross negligence. But it sounds like you are espousing vigilantism against police generally, which I hope most folks would not condone. Moreover, it is always a bad idea to paint with universal and broad strokes when confronted with individual instances of bad behavior – even when those are repeated. There are good, hardworking, diligent, kind and conscientious police officers. There are those who are not. I think throwing out the baby with the bath water is never wise, and I would urge one can be either a good conservative, good liberal, or good middle-of-the-roader (do those still exist?) and support law enforcement generally, while refusing to tolerate terrible law enforcers particularly.

  21. This seems preposterous. I’m sure there’s FAR more to the story. It’s impossible that all the law enforcement people she must have encountered were all be blind and incompetent and uncaring.

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