Miami TSA Officers Disciplined After Noose Displayed in Airport

Two Transportation Security Administration officers working at Miami International Airport were placed on leave for placing a noose and two monkeys in a baggage screening area.

The photo, posted to Instagram, shows two stuffed gorillas on keychains hanging from what appears to be a noose. In a statement released on July 30, the TSA disclosed that the “offensive display” was discovered in a baggage screening area at the airport not accessible to the public.

“An offensive display was discovered in a TSA baggage screening area located in the non-public side of Miami International Airport. TSA Officers immediately reported it to TSA Management,” the statement read. “The display was immediately removed and an investigation was launched into who was responsible for the unacceptable behavior.”

The agency said it “does not tolerate” this kind of behavior and two TSA officers, who have not been identified, have been placed on administrative leave.

Following the incident, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez wrote on Twitter that he was aware of the racist display and praised TSA for taking quick actions by placing the TSA agents on leave.

“I’m 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, as an investigation gets underway. Although TSA workers are not employees of Miami-Dade, #OurCounty has zero tolerance for racism,” Giménez wrote.

Earlier this month, counselors from a summer camp at Stanford University found a noose near their dorm on campus on July 12. Cheron Perkins, an advisor from the program, told KNTV that many students attending the summer camp are in high school and are minorities.

“My immediate thought was nothing but fear because I’d never seen a noose,” Perkins told the news station. “I was just distraught. I got on Southwest and started looking for a plane ticket.”

In a statement to The Mercury News, Stanford University officials said they are investigating the incident and the noose has been removed from campus. Anyone with information is urged to call the Stanford University Department of Public Safety at 650-329-2413.

“While we await further conclusions from the investigation, we feel it is important to state that a noose is recognized as a symbol of violence and racism directed against African American peoples,” the statement read. “Such a symbol has no place on our campus.”

A similar incident occurred a few months ago when a principal and four teachers from a California elementary school were placed on administrative leave after a photo of the teachers posing and smiling with a noose went viral on social media.

The racist photo was taken in a classroom at Summerwind Elementary School in Palmdale, California in May, The Los Angeles Times previously reported. The photo was taken and distributed online by the school’s principal, Linda Brandts. Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado wrote on the district’s Facebook page that the educators were placed on administrative leave and an investigation had been launched.

“I am appalled that this incident occurred. I am committed to the Palmdale Promise’s values of equity, integrity, and multiculturalism, and I know that most of the district believe in the same values the Promise upholds,” Maldonado wrote. “We will not allow the hurtful actions of a few hold back our district’s pledge to do right by our community.”

The photo caused parents to remove their children from school for a few days, the Antelope Valley Press previously reported. One parent told the publication that she removed her child from the school indefinitely.

“We are disgusted. Absolutely disgusted,” Breyan Clemmons previously told the newspaper. “We drop our kids off with the idea that we are sending them to a culturally competent institution for learning. We think that we’re sending them to a school; they’re safe. Never do we think we’re sending them to a plantation where they got nooses hanging up, and holding on to nooses. Taking pictures and smiling, where’s the humor?”

California State Assemblyman Tom Lackey, who served on the Palmdale School District Board of Trustees for six years, previously wrote on Twitter that he was “saddened” by the photo, but added that he believes the school district “can overcome and learn from this disturbance.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.