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TSA Officers on Leave Over Noose at Airport

Racist display was seen in restricted area of Miami International Airport
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
A TSA officer watches as passengers put their luggage through an X-ray machine at a checkpoint at Miami International Airport on May 26, 2016.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – Two TSA officers are on leave after a racist display featuring toy gorillas and a noose was discovered at Miami International Airport. The display (see it here) was discovered July 21 in a baggage-screening area not accessible to the public, per CNN. A TSA employee tells the outlet that two stuffed gorillas hung with a noose on a pole "in the center of the TSA workstation located underneath the airport where passengers' checked luggage is screened." To make matters worse, a TSA employee (it's not clear if it was the same one) said a manager initially claimed the display "wasn't racist, it was just a joke." If true, such behavior is "unacceptable and leaves [officers] to work in an environment where they believe they are not supported or protected," says Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Miami International Airport stressed the area in question was staffed by TSA, per USA Today, adding it "does not condone offensive behavior or materials." "The display was immediately removed and an investigation was launched into who was responsible for the unacceptable behavior," reads a TSA statement, which makes no mention of the manager or the claim that the display was a joke. "TSA does not tolerate racist or offensive behavior and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions," the statement continues, noting two officers have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation continues. Still, a TSA officer in Miami tells CNN that black and Hispanic officers "are upset this hasn't been properly taken care of yet. We want everybody held accountable for what they have done." (Read more TSA stories.)

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