White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughter

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White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughter
White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughter

A white mum has accused a major airline of racism after she says she was stopped by airport police and accused of human trafficking while she was travelling with her Black daughter.

Mary MacCarthy and her 10-year-old biological daughter Moira were flying to a funeral with Southwest Airlines in October last year following the unexpected death of Mary's brother. While at Denver International Airport she says she was confronted by a Southwest worker who suspected the child was being trafficked. They were intercepted by two police officers who questioned them before letting them go.

Ms MacCarthy, a single mum who works in tech, was left shaken by the incident and has now filed a lawsuit accusing the airline of "blatant racism." In the lawsuit, she claims the accusations of trafficking came "for no reason other than the different colour of her daughter’s skin from her own."

The legal documents claim the incident caused "extreme emotional distress," and the family is seeking economic damages, compensatory damages, and punitive and exemplary damages.

White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughter eideziqkeiqhhinvA Southwest staff member spotted the two travelling together and flagged it with police

Ms MacCarthy has accused Southwest Airlines of interfering based on race, resulting in a civil rights violation. "To this day, when Moira and I are out in public — and especially at airports or on planes — I'm hyper-aware that we might be judged and reported for any interaction we have with each other," she told Newsweek.

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"It's a strange feeling to be on alert about your most basic behaviours with your child, and it's exhausting. As for Moira (who is now 12), she still clams up and doesn't want to talk about what happened." Ms MacCarthy's attorney David Lane has said the lawsuit was filed to pressure the company to re-examine its training and policies.

He said: "In using racial profiling to cause the Denver police to stop innocent travellers, Southwest Airlines has attempted to address the serious criminal activity of sex trafficking through the use of a stereotypical, easy formula.

White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughterMary MacCarthy and her 10-year-old daughter Moira

"Just as the police are constitutionally not permitted to stop-and-frisk young men of colour based upon their race, corporate America is similarly not permitted to resort to such profiling to use law enforcement to stop and question racially diverse families simply based upon their divergent races, which is what Southwest did."

In a video filmed by Ms MacCarthy two police officers can be heard explaining why she and her daughter had been pulled aside. The concerned mum can be heard trying to reassure Moira saying: "It's okay sweetheart."

She can also be heard saying: "I have a daughter, who has unfortunately already been traumatised by police in her life."

White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughterMacCarthy was left furious following the incident
White mum stopped by airport cops & accused of human trafficking black daughterMs MacCarthy filmed the incident

According to the police report, the Southwest staffer told police she was suspicious due to the fact the pair were last to board the plane and because she asked other passengers to move so they could sit together.

Southwest declined Mirror's request to comment on this pending litigation.

At the time, Southwest said in a statement: "We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when travelling with her daughter. We are conducting a review of the situation internally, and we will be reaching out to the customer to address her concerns and offer our apologies for her experience travelling with us."

Charlie Jones

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