Two Transportation Security Administration officers have been placed on leave following the discovery of a “racially charged, disturbing display” at Miami International Airport.
A group of three TSA officers found two stuffed gorillas tied together, attached to a noose and hanging in a TSA workstation on July 21, according to CNN.
— Roy Ramos (@RRamosWPLG) July 30, 2019
In the wake of the incident, TSA has begun an internal investigation and issued a statement.
“TSA does not tolerate racist or offensive behavior and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions,” TSA spokeswoman Jenny Burke said.
One TSA employee told CNN that the display was hanging from a “pole right in the center of the TSA workstation located underneath the airport where passengers’ checked luggage is screened before being placed on aircraft.”
The agency removed the display “immediately,” CNN reported.
In an email obtained by the network, TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell instructed other agency officials to “think about other information that should go out to all offices.”
Darby Lajoye, TSA executive assistant administrator for security operations, wrote in a separate email that the display “cuts at the very core of who we are and what we stand for as an agency. TSA has zero tolerance for acts like this.”
The officers who found the display initially attempted to resolve the issue internally, but as one employee said, their manager “tried to downplay the noose and gorilla display, saying it wasn’t racist, it was just a joke.”
One officer noted that the manager’s tepid reaction only compounded the employees’ frustration.
Despite the agency’s response, some Miami employees are unsatisfied.
“The mood now at the airport is people are upset this hasn’t been properly taken care of yet. We want everybody held accountable for what they have done,” one told CNN.
“We have already ordered an independent investigation and all individuals potentially involved have been placed on Administrative leave while the investigation is underway,” Lajoye’s email stated.
TSA had not released the names of the officers placed on leave.
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