Things That Matter

The TSA Is Supposed To Be Protecting Air Travel But Some Workers Decided To Intimidate Co-Workers With Racist Displays Instead

@complex / Twitter

On Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it had suspended two TSA officers for allegedly putting up a noose in a baggage screening area at Miami International Airport. The two officers that were suspended had put up an “offensive display” and the incident is now under investigation. 

According to NBC News, the “offensive display” consisted of a noose hanging from the ceiling with two stuffed monkeys attached. The photo of the display had allegedly been posted on Instagram with the caption: “Black People of the Gram.”

The incident happened on July 21. In a CNN exclusive, the publication reports that a TSA employee with knowledge of the situation said that the display was hanging from a “pole right in the center of the TSA workstation located underneath the airport where passengers’ checked luggage is screened before placed on aircraft.” 

Consequently, when other TSA employees caught a glimpse of the display, managers were notified. But according to one TSA employee, the manager didn’t act rapidly to address the situation. 

In fact, the TSA employee tells CNN that, the manager “tried to downplay the noose and gorilla display, saying it wasn’t racist, it was just a joke.”

However, the TSA employees who reported this to their manager became even more upset after their concerns were ignored and downplayed. This then prompted the agency to launch an internal investigation. The two TSA officers who are allegedly guilty of building the display have been placed on administrative leave, with pay. 

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez of Miami, Florida took to Twitter to address the incident as well. He tweeted that he was “aware of the offensive item found in TSA baggage area at MIA and pleased TSA took quick action to identify those responsible and place them on leave.” 

The Miami International Airport Twitter account also spoke out about the incident saying they “do not condone offensive behavior or material of any kind.”

Although Miami International Airport sent out this tweet addressing the issue, they declined to comment to media outlets, according to CNBC.  

Twitter users who replied to both the mayor and the Miami International Airport account called for them to fire the TSA officers responsible for the display, “suspending is not enough punishment.”

TSA also released a statement that echoed the sentiments of the airport and the mayor. “TSA does not tolerate racist or offensive behavior and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions. Two TSA officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.” 

According to CNBC, this isn’t the first time we’ve read reports from workers about workplace racial harassment. Back in June, a black employee in South Carolina “sued the company saying it retaliated against him after he reported a noose hanging near his desk and that other employees urinated on his desk and chair.” In March, nearly two dozen UPS workers said they discovered a noose in their workplace.

Despite the alleged actions begin taken at the Miami International Airport to address the racist incident, many TSA officers are reportedly feeling “distraught” about it.

CNN spoke to a veteran Miami TSA officer, who chose to remain anonymous, about the incident. The veteran TSA officer said he was “upset about the incident, which he says has many of Miami International Airport’s black and Hispanic TSA officers distraught.” 

“The mood now at the airport is people are upset this hasn’t been properly taken care of yet. We want everybody held accountable for what they have done,” the same officer told the publication. 

In internal emails that CNN obtained, they found that the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to TSA on Tuesday and urged them to make sure the incident was handled promptly and thoroughly investigated. They also strongly urged TSA to have those “involved held accountable for their actions.”

Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson also spoke out about the incident at Miami International Airport saying that it’s unacceptable that those in charge of TSA didn’t take the incident seriously and that it leaves “TSOs to work in an environment where they believe they are not supported or protected.” 

TSA’s acting deputy administrator Patricia Cogswell also wrote an email, obtained by CNN, to other TSA officials and said that “given the number of emails and such coming in to HQ about the MIA situation, please pull together a message for SO (senior officers) to issue, and think about other information that should go out to all offices.”

Other administrators for security operations addressed the “troubling event” that “cuts at the very core of who we are and what we stand for as an agency.”  

The TSA officers involved in the offensive display have not been named or identified. 

It’s 2019 In The US And A Man Shouted That He Is A KKK Member While Spraying A Black Teen With A Hose

Things That Matter

It’s 2019 In The US And A Man Shouted That He Is A KKK Member While Spraying A Black Teen With A Hose

Tina Barber / Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

It’s 2019 in the U.S., and that looks like a lot like an updated version of 1919 America: A Black teenager trying to do what’s right and forced to keep his composure and walk away as a KKK member sprays him with a hose. Except, in 2019, there is video footage to prove it all happened. 

The events leading up to the time of the video are just as important as the event itself. The 14-year-old boy’s mother, Christina Poles, witnessed and recorded the incident, and posted it to her Facebook page. Poles alleges that the 50-year-old white man involved, Glen Nicodemus, was taking photos of children at Lyon Park in East Rochester before he got into an altercation with her son.

In the video, you hear Nicodemus yell at the Black teen, “I’m a Ku Klux Klan member and you shouldn’t be f**king with the Klan.”

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

Then, you hear Poles begin to frantically yell, “Hey, hey, [name], come here!” Later, Poles would tell Rochester First that, “It was like a scene out of the 60s. You don’t see stuff like that in 2019.”

“I don’t give a f***,” the teen yells back at Nicodemus as he walks toward his house for the hose.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

“Tell your Klan, pull up,” the teenager responds. Instead, Nicodemus reaches for the hose in front of his house and begins spraying him at a distance. Since the video has gone viral on social media, folks are making dark jokes about what feels like a dark time. “One Of Trump’s Very Fine Klansman. Heil Trump!,” tweets one person. “Didn’t we see this movie before in black and white newsreels,” tweets another.

The teenager is the one who chooses to disengage in the confrontation.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

Of course, he’s pissed. A neighbor just told him the reason that he shouldn’t confront him about taking photos of children at the park is because of race differences. The teenager is Black and the older man is a white Ku Klux Klan member. Nicodemus explicitly threatened him with the force of the Klan for confronting him. As the teenager walks away, he lists profanities and says, “I’ll spit in your grave, too.”

The Poles’ family immediately called the police and filed a report.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

“I can say that I’m proud of my 14-year-old son for being the bigger man and not reacting,” Poles wrote in the Facebook post. “I’m not sure I would have stayed this calm.” That said, she said that the incident has caused her “to question my decision to move my kids out to this town.”

Poles said that Nicodemus had already been aggressive with them at the park, and reignited the verbal altercation as they walked home past his house.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

The video is just the second act of the confrontation. The first act started at the park when Nicodemus started “flipping them off.” Poles told Rochester First that all her son did was respond to an already strange scenario. “My son said something along the lines of ‘why do you keep flipping us off,’ said some other profanities I wish he hadn’t.”

Poles thinks that Nicodemus should be embarrassed and needs to be held accountable for his actions.

According to Poles, the cops first got involved when they asked Nicodemus to leave the park. 

Credit: Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

“Mind you this was after he was at the park taking pictures of the girls. After the cops told him to leave them alone he kept coming to the park flicking them off,” reads a Facebook post. Poles also said that it wasn’t the first time he sprayed her son with a hose, and that police had to order Nicodemus to stop targeting the Poles’ family.

Today, Nicodemus was arraigned and charged with second-degree harassment.

Credit: Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

That said since Poles took the video to social media, and more folks seem to care that an alleged KKK member is threatening teenage boys with the N-word and spraying water at their heads without their consent, the police is looking into it further once again. The police assured Poles that the man would be arrested, and two days later, he showed up to the court hearing that would charge him with harassment.

East Rochester Police Chief Steve Clancy told the New York Daily News that, “the judge also issued an order of protection for the victim.”

READ: A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

UPDATE: Texas Officers In Viral Horseback Photo Were Allegedly Following Policy

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UPDATE: Texas Officers In Viral Horseback Photo Were Allegedly Following Policy

Officers P. Brosch and A. Smith arrested Donald Neely, a 43-year-old Black man, for alleged trespassing in Galveston, Texas. The officers then handcuffed Neely, tied a blue rope to his handcuffs, and used the rope as a leash as they forced him to be dog walked in his own neighborhood to the staging area for the Mounted Patrol Unit. Witnesses took photos of the incident and released them to the public, prompting an outcry over the dehumanization of the man.

The two officers involved in the incident will not face a criminal investigation, according to Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset.

“My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Police Chief Vernon Hale said in a statement.

According to CNN, the officers were following policy when it came to arresting by horseback officers. While a criminal investigation is not happening, there is an investigation being conducted on the county level. The investigation, however, is not into the incident, but rather an investigation in the police forces’ policies.

The visceral effect of the image is rooted in the use of this “technique” to capture and enslave Black people in the antebellum south.

Credit: @luvwinsresist / Twitter

In a Facebook post, Texas’ Galveston Police Department included this statement: 

“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest. My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods.”

Neely’s family attorney, Melissa Morris, says that Neely is mentally ill and homeless.

Credit: @AdrBell / Twitter

Morris told KPRC that Neely lived a normal life as the father of eight children until he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder ten years ago. His family had been looking for him for the last three or four years. When Neely’s sister saw his image go viral, she immediately drove to Galveston to find him.

The Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III has since released a statement, saying “First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment.” Hale has confirmed that this is a commonplace technique that “is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice was not the correct use for this instance.” The police department has discontinued the use of the “technique.”

“The family is offended. The family is upset,” Morris told KPRC.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

“I believe the way they handled him was disgusting,” Morris told the Texas station. “No puedo con esta mierda. Me mudo. Me vomito,” comments one Twitter user.

The police officers have received no consequences for their “poor judgment” at the time of this publication. 

Credit: @oodsfern / Twitter

In 2014, Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill Black man, was shot 14 times by police, though he was unarmed. Some people are calling on the police department to “fire them!” Another Twitter user feels the apology is “Not enough. Officers Brosch and Smith should be ID’d in full and then fired. If the #Galveston Police department treat a Black man like this for a misdemeanor, who knows what savage acts they would commit for a felony.”

Meanwhile, people are showing the treatment of the El Paso shooter who killed 22 people in comparison to a Black man arrested for trespassing.

Credit: @haleystanwood / Twitter

President of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, Leon Phillips, told the Houston Chronicle, “All I know is that these are two white police officers on horseback with a Black man walking him down the street with a rope tied to the handcuffs, and that’s doesn’t make sense, period. And I do understand this —if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.”

For some, the photo is further proof of the injustices Black men and women face when dealing with law enforcement.

Credit: @luvwinsresist / Twitter

“Tell me again how racism is dead and that we Black folk just overreact to everything? Don’t worry I’ll wait,” tweets @luvwinsresist. Unfortunately, she didn’t have to wait long.

Nearly half the social media outrage to the photo comes from folks who claim the law is color blind.

Credit: @PATRICI09051947 / Twitter

They seem to be angry that anyone could suggest that race played a role in the way Neely was treated. Photos of other non-Black suspects under arrest by cops on horseback are being circulated. None of the photos we scoured found the use of a rope to function as a leash.

People of color are expending their energy on explaining racism to white folks all over the Internet this week.

Credit: @monicacharley32 / Twitter

After one Twitter user asked if anyone would care if they were Black cops dragging a Black man, Monica Charley chimed in to say, “Yes. I would care. I would care very much. The difference here is that the incident harkens to an earlier era during slavery when this actual act was commonplace for captured slaves. That is the reason for the extreme upset. I hope this clarifies things for you.”

The user responded using “they” language, and once again erasing the anger of Black folks as oversensitive.

Take care of yourselves out there, mi gente.

Credit: @henrygonzilla / Twitter

This week has been pesado in ways we couldn’t even imagine. Take care not to give away precious joules of energy to people who aren’t worthy. Our community has your back.

READ: White Woman Called Black Women The N-Word At A Restaurant And Says “I Would Say It Again”

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