A great-grandmother is suing Disney after she was arrested at Florida’s Magic Kingdom last year for having CBD oil in her bag, Fox 35 News reports. Hester Burkhalter, 69, is being represented in the case by civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump is also representing the family of the late George Floyd.
Last May, Burkhalter was on a trip with her adopted children at the Orlando theme park when security officers found a bottle of CBD oil in her bag. The officers handcuffed her and took her to jail. Following the incident, Crump held a press conference saying Burkhalter would take legal action against Disney if they failed to “take ownership, sit down with this family and try to repair the harm.”
Burkhalter says she uses the CBD oil for “really bad arthritis” in her legs, arms, and shoulder.
On Wednesday, Crump and his legal team announced the lawsuit, saying that Burkhalter “was wrongfully arrested and taken into custody at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for possessing federally legal CBD oil.”
“She was treated like a common criminal because she had medical issues but still wanted to take her [children] for a lifelong dream that they have saved for two years. They came from North Carolina to try to fulfill the wishes of their young [children] and these loving grandparents were humiliated. Disney World lacks two things: common sense and common decency in how they treat people. It is entirely outrageous that Disney World would discriminate against people who have medical conditions that don’t respond to common pain relievers.” – Crump in a news conference via Fox 35
Burkhalter called the arrest “the most humiliating day of her life” and said at the time of the arrest she had a panic attack and vomited outside of the police car. When she asked for an ambulance, she was told to get back inside the car.
She was banned from Disney property, but that order has since been lifted.
“Every time I think about it a whole lot, or talk about it a whole lot, I get sick to my stomach and just don’t feel well,” she said in the report. “It affects you when something like this – having to take off your clothes in front of people. It affects me. I have dreams, can’t sleep sometimes.”
At the time of the arrest, CBD was illegal under Florida law, but it has since been legalized. Burkhalter is seeking $18 million in damages.