Over 30 federal officers at a program at Logan Airport, intended to spot potential terrorists’ telltale mannerisms say the program has attracted the use of racial profiling that has targeted not just people from the Middle East, but also Hispanics, blacks and a number of other minorities.
In both internal complaints and interviews, officers from the behavior detection program of the Transportation Security Administration at Boston’s Logan International Airport asserted that air passengers who fit into certain profiles – blacks wearing their baseball backward, or Hispanics headed to Miami – are much more apt to be asked to stop, questioned and searched for what is described as suspicious behavior.
One TSA officer, who is white, said they just point out anyone that does not look the way they want people to look. He said it was not important if they have expensive jewelry and clothes and are black, or if they happen to be Hispanic. Officials from the TSA said that a full investigation has started due to the recent allegations.
TSA officials were provided by officers at Logan, written complaints about profiling that 32 officers had done, some were anonymously written. Officers said that their managers’ demands to have large numbers of people stopped, searched and criminal referrals, had led their co-workers to target different minority groups with the belief it would yield more drugs, immigration problems and arrest warrants.
One officer wrote that the behavior detection system was no longer a program based on behavior, but it was program based on racial profiling.