LAKE MARY, Fla. - Last year, a 69-year-old great-grandmother was arrested at the Magic Kingdom after security found a bottle of CBD oil in her bag. She was put in jail, but the felony charge was dropped.
Now a high profile civil rights attorney is filing a civil lawsuit on her behalf.
“Every time I think about it a whole lot of talk about it a whole lot I get nervous and sick to my stomach and just don’t feel well,” Hester Burkhalter said.
More than a year later, Burkhalter said she suffers from that traumatizing event.
“It affects you when you have to take off your clothes in front of people,” she said. “It affects me.”
She said her family planned for two years to travel to Disney World from North Carolina, but that dream vacation turned into a nightmare.
“It was the most humiliating day of my life,” Burkhalter said.
Ben Crump, her civil rights attorney, filed a civil lawsuit seeking a total of $18 million in damages against Disney and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
“A 69-year-old grandmother for having CBD oil for her chronic pain associated with advanced arthritis was strip-searched and strip body cavity searched and overall humiliating experience,” Crump said. “Officers administered a highly unreliable field test to test it for THC. Which at first came back negative. The bottle was clearly labeled 0% THC.”
Her attorney said she was also denied medical attention when she suffered a panic attack as she was put in a patrol car.
“I even told them I couldn’t I breathe before I finally got out. I even told them that there too. I couldn’t. I felt like I was going to pass out and that’s when I started throwing up.”
All while her 8 and 10-year-old adopted children watched.
“This is supposed to be the happiest time in a child’s life,” Crump said. “These children will never see Disney as anything happy after they watched what their grandmother endured.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said they do not comment on pending litigation. Disney has not responded to a request for comment.