The Los Angeles mother says Southwest Airlines thought she was selling her biracial daughter

A California woman accuses Southwest Airlines of racial profiling and says she was accused of human trafficking while traveling with her biracial daughter.

Los Angeles-based Mary MacCarthy says she and her 10-year-old daughter Moira flew to Denver on October 22 after receiving news that MacCarthy’s brother had suddenly died.

MacCarthy said they made a quick stop in San Jose and boarded another Southwest flight, but then found they couldn’t sit together.

“I asked flight attendants if we could sit together, but they told us we had to take a middle seat each,” MacCarthy said. “So I asked other passengers with their permission if they would kindly move so we could be together, especially since my daughter was grieving, and they did. The people are nice.”

When they arrived in Denver, MacCarthy said, she and her daughter were picked up on the jetway by two Denver police officers.

“I was pretty shocked. After losing my brother the night before, I thought that someone in my family had died and that the police were sent to bring the news!” MacCarthy wrote in an email to the Southwest Airlines media team that was included in the police report.

“My daughter was terrified: she already had the trauma of her uncle’s death and she is afraid of the police because of the constant headlines about how the police deal with black people (she is black). She started sobbing and was heartbroken,” it says in her email.

Officers assured her there was nothing wrong but said they wanted to interview her and her daughter, MacCarthy said.

“They said they were here because my daughter and I were reported suspicious of behavior, acted suspiciously before boarding and while boarding,” she said.

“I got out my cell phone and immediately started recording. I told (the officer) who we were and that my daughter was crying because she had lost a family member,” MacCarthy said.

According to a Denver Police Department report, “both mother and child were acquitted.”

The report also found that officials were responding to “possible human trafficking reported by the South West flight attendant” – but MacCarthy says she didn’t find out she was suspected of trafficking until two weeks later.

“I got a call from the Denver Police Human Trafficking Unit letting me know that they are following up the incident,” she told CNN.

CNN reached out to the Denver police about MacCarthy’s allegation on Sunday afternoon but received no response.

MacCarthy accuses Southwest Airlines of racial profiling. She says she hired a lawyer and wants the airline to be “fully accountable”.

“I gave the airline plenty of time to contact me and apologize – more than two weeks later, I haven’t received two short automated responses. The time to apologize is long gone, ”said MacCarthy.

In her email to the Southwest media team, MacCarthy said she wanted a written apology from the airline, an immediate refund of the full price of her tickets, and “additional compensation for the trauma inflicted on an innocent family, especially a grieving ten.” one year old black girl. “

Southwest Airlines said it was “discouraged” by MacCarthy’s account of the events and plans to contact her.

“We are conducting an internal review of the situation and will be reaching out to the customer to resolve their concerns and apologize for her travel experience with us. Our employees are undergoing solid trafficking training in working to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for the millions of customers who travel with us each year, “Southwest Airlines spokesman Dan Landson said in a statement to CNN on Sunday .

“Had that been a white kid, there wouldn’t have been a raised eyebrow,” MacCarthy’s attorney David Lane told CNN.

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