Press Releases

CAIR-Florida Demands Dismissal of TSA Supervisor Who Told Air Marshals to Surveil African-American Travelers

(MIAMI, FL, 8/16/18) — The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for the immediate dismissal of an allegedly racist Transportation Security Administration (TSA) supervisor who reportedly directed air marshals to search African-American travelers and used the “n-word” to do so.

Rather than being disciplined for such actions, the TSA supervisor has been promoted and now works at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport in Florida as a transportation security manager.

Video: Former Air Marshals Say They Were Told to Target African-American Passengers for Surveillance

Three former federal air marshals who worked at the Orlando International Airport between 2005 and 2010 have reported that a supervisor asked them to specifically single out black people because “. . .they’re the ones who have warrants,” thereby associating African-Americans with crime. One of the air marshals explained that the supervisor used the “n-word” to describe the targets of racial bias and discrimination.

The allegations have been confirmed by Steve Theodoropoulos, Henry Preston and Ed Cunningham, all former federal air marshals with several years of experience. They said that they never followed these orders but that they did observe other marshals were following them. They explained that the supervisor asked them to search African-American travelers if they couldn’t find any other obvious indicators in order to meet an established quota of searches.

In a statement, CAIR-Florida’s civil rights attorney Omar Saleh said:

“Traveling while being black or Muslim is not a threat and should not be considered suspicious. The numerous reports of TSA supervisors using race as a perceived security risk is troubling, but not surprising. It only confirms what the American Muslim community experiences on a regular basis. We have received several calls over the years from American Muslim clients who complain of constant monitoring and travel delays even though they’ve never been charged with or suspected of any criminal activity. We have brought lawsuits, including one filed just last week, challenging abusive and harassing treatment by TSA and Customs and Border Protection officials.”

About CAIR-Florida / Acerca de CAIR-Florida

CAIR-Florida’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR-Florida es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, proteger las libertades civiles, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.



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