TSA apologizes to traveler over treatment at MN airport

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/17/2020 02:30 PM
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – An official of the Transportation Security Administration apologized on Jan. 14 to a Native American air traveler who says an agent treated her offensively at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Indigenous rights activist and attorney Tara Houska says she was headed home to Bemidji on Jan. 13 when a TSA agent said she needed to pat down her long braids and then pulled them behind her shoulders and said “giddyup” as she snapped them like reins of a horse.

“My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman. I am angry, humiliated. Your “fun” hurt”, “Houska tweeted.

Houska, who is Objibwe, says she doesn’t want the agent fired, but thinks TSA needs to improve its sensitivity training.

In a statement, the agency said TSA officials investigated the incident, and on Jan. 14 TSA’s Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven spoke with Houska and apologized for the officer’s actions and comment.

“TSA holds its employees to the highest standards of professional conduct and any type of improper behavior is taken seriously,” the statement said.

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