LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WESH/CNN) – A great-grandmother who was arrested for having CBD oil at Magic Kingdom last year has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company.
Hester Burkhalter is being represented by attorney Benjamin Crump, who announced the lawsuit during a press conference on Wednesday.
The then 69-year-old Burkhalter, of North Carolina, was arrested April 15, 2019, for having oil that was labeled “Select CBD” in her purse. Burkhalter said the oil she had did not contain THC and said she was made to feel like a criminal.
“Every time I think about it, or talk about it, I get real nervous, sick to my stomach. I just don’t feel well,” she said.
Crump said Hester was using the CBD oil per her doctor’s recommendation to treat her advanced arthritis.
Prosecutors dropped a drug charge against Burkhalter, saying it wasn’t suitable for prosecution. Burkhalter spent 12 hours in jail before she was released on bond. While detained for 15 hours, Burkhalter said she threw up and was strip-searched.
“It affects you when something like this just, you know having to take off our clothes in front of people, it affects me,” she said.
Crump said she has given Disney many chances to make it up to the Burkhalter family. He called this a civil rights cases and said the company should have to pay to make up for the humiliation Burkhalter endured.
“Disney remained silent,” he said. “They need to compensate this family to send the message that this was wrong.”
The lawsuit will allege Burkhalter was wrongfully arrested and is asking for a combined total of at least $138 million.
Last May, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the arrest was lawful and Disney said the incident was a law enforcement matter.
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