The Transportation Security Administration is in the headlines again, this time for stopping a woman to check her Afro.
Dallas resident Isis Brantley said she was stopped on Monday at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta after she went through security. Brantley said an agent asked her if someone had checked her hair. She said no one had and continued on her way. She then heard someone yelling as she went down the escalator to catch her flight.
“I just heard these voices saying, ‘Hey you, hey you, ma’am, stop. Stop — the lady with the hair, you,” she told NBC’s Dallas affiliate.
Two TSA agents told her she could not go any further until they checked her hair for explosives, Brantley said.
She said she reluctantly allowed them to do it. The agents patted her hair down right there instead of asking to return to a private area for screening.
“And so she started patting my hair, and I was in tears at that point,” Brantley said. “And she was digging in my scalp.”
She said the experience was very humiliating.
“I was outraged,” Brantley said. “I was humiliated. I was confused.”
“TSA’s screening procedures are designed to ensure the security of the traveling public,” TSA said in a statement. “Additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden. This passenger left the checkpoint prior to the completion of the screening process. She was offered but refused private screening.”
After the pat-down, Brantley complained to a TSA supervisor at Hartsfield-Jackson who then apologized to her.
“She said, ‘Ma’am, please, I promise you, I’m going to take care of it. I’m so sorry that happened to you,’” Brantley said. “And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s weird.’”
Brantley, who styles hair for a living, frequently travels to style clients across the country. She said has worn her hair naturally for 20 years and has never had her hair checked until Monday’s incident.
“They’ve never done that to me, ever — never, never, never,” she said.
Brantley said she is scared she will be harassed again the next time she flies.
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