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August 20, 2018

Thompson, Watson Coleman, Demings Call for Investigation Into Reports Federal Air Marshals Were Directed to Racially Discriminate

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), announced they have requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General commence an investigation into news reports that former Federal Air Marshals alleged that a supervisor in Orlando, Florida directed them to target African American travelers for unwarranted scrutiny. Reportedly, the supervisor used the n-word when making these orders and reportedly still works for the Transportation Security Administration in a different managerial role.

In the letter, the Members write:

These allegations are extremely troubling, especially given the history of allegations regarding misconduct, discrimination, and retaliation within the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). We have long been concerned that the policies of the TSA, which oversees the FAMS, open the door to racial profiling and other forms of discrimination. For the TSA to earn the trust of the American public, non-discrimination policies must be fully enforced, allegations of misconduct must be fully investigated, and substantiated misconduct must be remedied by corrective action.

As such, we request that you expeditiously investigate allegations that FAMs in Orlando were directed to discriminate unlawfully against travelers based upon race or other factors, including whether such directions were acted upon and whether such discrimination continues today. 

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978