Boston Airport Accused of Racial Profiling

Getty Images

More than 30 federal officers say that a program at Logan International Airport in Boston intended to spot potential terrorists has become rife with racial profiling, targeting minorities including blacks and Hispanics, says The New York Times

In interviews and internal complaints, officers say that the "behavior detection" program stops Hispanics and blacks (like those traveling to Miami and wearing backward baseball caps) much more often, and questions them for "suspicious" behavior. Officers who filed the complaint say managers' demands to meet a certain threshold number of stops, searches and criminal referrals has led to coworkers targeting minorities in the belief that these stops are more likely to yield something of note, such as outstanding arrest warrants or immigration problems.

"They just pull aside anyone who they don't like the way they look -- if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic," one white officer told The New York Times. 

These complaints are interesting for two big reasons: one, it is unusual for transportation agency employeees to come forward with this kind of claim against fellow workers, and two, Boston is the testing ground for an expanded use of behavioral detection methods at other airports around the country. In other words: if this complaint proves to be true, the program will have to be reconsidered for all other airports.

The T.S.A. has opened an investigation into the claims. 

Tell us: What do you think of the claims? Should "behavior programs" even exist? Share in the comments!

Share this 
About this author1

Samantha Leal, Deputy Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

Like this post? Contribute to the discussion!