LA Mother Says She, Daughter Had been Racially Profiled on Flight From San Jose to Colorado – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (KPIX) – A Los Angeles mother claims she was stopped and interrogated for human trafficking after boarding a Southwest Airlines flight with her biracial daughter, and is now demanding that the airline be held accountable for what she calls racial profiling and harassment.

“We wouldn’t have been charged for anything if my daughter were white and blonde,” said Mary MacCarthy.

The Los Angeles-based single mother said she booked a flight on Southwest Airlines with her 10-year-old daughter Moira after learning that her brother had suddenly passed away last month. She was en route to Denver, Colorado on October 22nd with a stop in San Jose.

MacCarthy said as soon as they landed in Denver they were surrounded by two police officers and a Southwest Airlines agent.

“They tried to speak to my daughter individually. I said, ‘No, she’s only 10, you don’t interrogate her alone,'” MacCarthy said. “I got out my cell phone and started recording.”

In the video, she explains that she uses her phone to record their names because she is too nervous to write them down. Her daughter’s sobbing, who cannot be seen in the video, can be heard in the background.

“The flight attendants were only concerned about the behavior when you got on the plane,” the Southwest Airlines crew member told MacCarthy.

MacCarthy told KPIX that they were part of the last group to board because they booked their tickets at the last minute. Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seats. She said she asked flight attendants if they could help her get two seats together so she could be next to her daughter.

But when they told her they couldn’t help, MacCarthy said she asked passengers if they wouldn’t mind pulling for her and Moira. She said several passengers were understanding and moved their seats.

MacCarthy said the flight was uneventful until she and her daughter got off the plane and reached the jet bridge, where officers and crew were waiting for them.

After MacCarthy stated that Moira was their daughter and that they were in Colorado for her brother’s funeral, MacCarthy said the group let her go without further asking.

“I was absolutely sure that we were racially profiled, but I have other worries, I only thought about that a lot 10 days later,” she said.

A few days ago, MacCarthy said she received a call from the human trafficking division of the Denver Police Department.

“She told me that she called on suspicion that I was a trafficker,” she said. “You saw a white mother, you saw a child with a different skin tone and said that it was suspicious, that it could be a crime and that we are going to report it. That is not OK. That’s the United States of America in 2021. “

In addition, MacCarthy said she asked what was on the police report that KPIX had received. According to the report, flight attendants said MacCarthy and her daughter did not speak to each other during the flight and the mother did not allow Moira to speak to the flight crew. Both of these claims, MacCarthy said, were totally wrong.

Police also wrote in the report that MacCarthy told them about their brother’s funeral, that Moira was their daughter and looked tall for her age.

Police reported that the girl started to speak but then stopped and that MacCarthy “did not want to give any information”.

MacCarthy said her cell phone video was telling the truth, however. The recording can be heard telling officials and the airline employee that she works in technology and lives in Los Angeles.

“I’m glad I did because it turned out that the truth that was recorded in my video is different from its official report,” said MacCarthy. “I want you to be held accountable for a straightforward, outrageous case of racist profiling and harassment by myself and a grieving 10-year-old African American girl.”

KPIX has contacted the Denver Police Department and is still waiting for a response.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement to KPIX stating:

“We were discouraged to hear about this mother’s report when she was traveling with her daughter. We are conducting an internal review of the situation and will reach out to the customer to resolve their concerns and apologize for her experience traveling with us. Our employees go through solid training on human trafficking. Most of all, Southwest Airlines prides itself on providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for the millions of customers who travel with us each year. “

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