A 42-year-old mom was caught by surprise after Southwest Airlines called police on her because her daughter is black and the airlines suspected human trafficking.
According to a report by People, Mary MacCarthy, 42, was traveling with her 10-year-old daughter Moira on Oct. 22 from Los Angeles to Denver.
The mother and daughter were flying to MacCarthy’s brother’s funeral after he passed away unexpectedly at age 46, according to People.
“I’m a single mom, he’s like a father figure to my daughter. So we were both very much in shock. We hadn’t slept. It wasn’t the easiest travel,” MacCarthy told NBC news.
MacCarthy told People that it was a last-minute flight and that her and Moira were the last to board the plane.
When MacCarthy and her daughter arrived at the airport in Denver, they were greeted by two police officers and a Southwest employee, according to NBC News.
“They said, ‘We’re talking to you because you and your daughter were reported for suspicious behavior,’” McCarthy recalled to NBC News. “That’s when everything clicked in my brain. I’ve been a mother to a biracial child for 10 years, I’m aware of racial profiling.”
About three minutes after the ordeal started, the cops let MacCarthy and Moira go, but not before they’d left the 10-year-old traumatized and in tears, according to NBC News.
MacCarthy also recorded the incident and hired an attorney.
Southwest Airlines said in a statement to NBC News they are conducting an internal review of the incident.
“We were disheartened to learn of this mother’s account when traveling 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 traveling with us,” the airline told NBC News.
The airline did not share why an employee found MacCarthy and her daughter suspicious but said all employees undergo “robust training on human trafficking”, according to the outlet.
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