On Tuesday, the TSA announced two officers responsible for an “offensive display” at the Miami International Airport would remain on leave as officials continue the latter half of their investigation.
The problematic display in question consisted of two stuffed gorillas hanging from a noose while also being held together at their hands by a hair clip. According to the release, the “offensive display was discovered in a TSA baggage screening area located in the non-public side of” the airport.
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“The display was immediately removed and an investigation was launched into who was responsible for the unacceptable behavior,” the TSA statement claims, going on to say the administration does not tolerate “racist or offensive behavior.”
Speaking to CNN, one TSA employee said their manager’s initial response to the incident provoked even more outrage over an already-tense situation. The anonymous employee said the manager "tried to downplay the noose and gorilla display, saying it wasn't racist, it was just a joke."
The worker revealed that their boss’ dismissal of the racism invoked by the gorillas and noose “further upset” a total of three officers at the Miami airport.
Shortly after that, an investigation was launched, and the TSA issued an email apologizing to its employees for the racist display.
Another unnamed TSA employee spoke to the news outlet and said that although an investigation is underway, black and Hispanic employees remain upset that justice has not come quickly enough.
"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," the Miami TSA officer said.
According to data obtained by ProPublica, TSA is “one of the most diverse agencies in the federal government.” A fourth of the administration’s 46,000 agents are black, and another 23% are Hispanic.