TSA is in the news again for another illegal search. This time it’s because they stopped a woman to pat her afro for any illegal weapons.
Dallas resident Isis Brantley reports that she was stopped at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta after she went through security. She said an agent asked if her hair had been checked. She said “no” and continued on her way when she heard someone yelling as she continued down the escalator to catch her flight.
“I just heard these voices saying, ‘Hey you, hey you, ma’am, stop. Stop — the lady with the hair, you,” she told NBC’s Dallas affiliate.
Then, two TSA agents told her she could not go any further until they checked her hair for explosives, Brantley said. She said she reluctantly allowed them to do it. The agents patted her hair down right there instead of asking to return to a private area for screening.
“And so she started patting my hair, and I was in tears at that point,” Brantley said. “And she was digging in my scalp.” She said the experience was very humiliating.
“I was outraged,” Brantley said. “I was humiliated. I was confused.”
“TSA’s screening procedures are designed to ensure the security of the traveling public,” TSA said in a statement. “Additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden. This passenger left the checkpoint prior to the completion of the screening process. She was offered, but refused private screening.”
After the pat-down, Brantley complained to a TSA supervisor at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, who then apologized to her.
“She said, ‘Ma’am, please, I promise you, I’m going to take care of it. I’m so sorry that happened to you,’” Brantley said. “And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s weird.’”
Isis does hair for a living and she frequently travels across the country to serve her clients. She has also styled singer Erykah Badu’s famous locks. She has worn her natural hair naturally for twenty years and has never been checked until this incident.
“They’ve never done that to me, ever — never, never, never,” she said.
Brantley said she is scared she will go through the same experience again the next time she is taking a flight.