Things That Matter

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

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.”

https://twitter.com/ppcpratt/status/1156404205843832833

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. 

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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Things That Matter

Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Photo: Polk County Jail via Associated Press

On Wednesday, an Iowa woman pled guilty to federal hate crime charges. The woman, 43-year-old Nicole Poole Franklin, intentionally hit a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina with her car in 2019. The charges include two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act, as Poole Franklin intended to kill the victims because of their ethnicity.

Nicole Poole Franklin admitted to authorities that she targeted the girl because she thought she looked “Mexican”. She thought the boy was an Islamic terrorist.

As part of her defense, Poole Franklin is claiming that she suffers from schizophrenia and PTSD. Since her arrest, she admitted to police officers that she smoked meth before going on her hate-filled rampage.

The incident, which happened in December of 2019, struck fear into the hearts of communities of color in Des Moines, Iowa, where the hate crimes took place. “Anytime things happen to any minority, people are concerned about what happened,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in Iowa. “It was a horrific thing and people were concerned — especially people of color.”

When Nicole Poole Franklin ran over the children, she injured the boy’s leg. The girl, Natalia Miranda, was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for two days.

Natalia Miranda was walking to junior high school on December 9, 2019, when Poole Franklin ran her down on the side walk. Miranda was unconscious for 40 minutes before she woke up and walked to school, where she alerted the authorities.

Natalia Miranda says she remembers the car speeding towards her, but she doesn’t remember being hit. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” the 14-year-old told KCCI. “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

As of now, prosecutors are recommending that Nicole Poole Franklin serve 27 years behind bars.

Poole Franklin is also looking at two charges of attempted murder–both of which could carry up to 25 years each. Prosecutors are recommending that she serves all of the jailtime–state and federal–at the same time.

Here’s to hoping that the justice system does what is right and puts Nicole Poole Franklin behind bars for a long time–if only to save the lives of innocent children of color whose only crime is walking down the street.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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