Mother of Biracial Child Sues Southwest Airlines for Profiling

The mother of biracial child is suing Southwest Airlines for racial profiling after airline employees targeted the two as a potential human trafficking situation. Mary MacCarthy and her daughter Moira, 10 years old, were flying from Los Angeles Calif. to Denver for the funeral of her brother. Upon arrival in Denver, the two were met in the jet-way by Denver Police.

Mary MacCarthy and daughter Moira were subject to a brief investigation after a flight attendant suspected MacCarthy of human trafficking.

“I got quite a shock; having lost my brother the night before, I thought that someone else in my family had died and that police had been sent to deliver the news!” MacCarthy said in an email to Southwest Airlines and also in the police report. “As for my daughter, she was terribly frightened: she was already experiencing the trauma of her uncle’s death, and she is scared of police due to constant headlines about how police treat Black people (she is Black). She began to sob and was inconsolable,” her email said.

The Denver Police report says, “Both Mother and child were cleared.” The report also states that they responded to a “possible Human Trafficking reported by South West flight attendant.” MacCarthy says she did not know that at the time. only found out two weeks later that she was suspected of human trafficking when she got a call from Denver Police human trafficking unit letting her know they were following up on the incident, she said.