A biracial mother and her 10 year old daughter was stopped at the Denver International Airport by armed police officers upon suspicions of human trafficking.
The two boarded a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose, California, on October 22 to attend the mother, Mary MacCarthy’s brother’s funeral.
According to the police report, the crew member said it was suspicious that Ms MacCarthy and her daughter Moira were the last to board the plane and Ms MacCarthy had asked other passengers to move so they could sit together.
During the flight, the mother and daughter had not been very communicative, the report outlined.
MacCarthy told The Independent that she boarded last because “that’s what her tickets said to do”. They were in the last boarding group, and there was no assigned seating on the flight.
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She asked the flight attendants if they could sit together, but was told to directly ask passengers to switch. “This was our only interaction with flight crew,” MacCarthy said.
MacCarthy explained that her and her daughter didn’t communicate much on the flight because of shock about her brother’s death.
“My brother had died less than 12 hours before, I’m a single mother and he was like a father figure to my daughter … so we were in shock.” said Ms MacCarthy said. She further explained that she was trying to catch up on sleep during the flight and her daughter was listening to book on her phone.
“You can hear my daughter sobbing throughout the video,” MacCarthy said about a video taken during their interrogation.
“I tell them the reason she is so upset is because we’ve just suffered a death and she’s biracial and she’s experienced, unfortunately, bad things with police, so she’s extra nervous.”
“The whole thing is based on what I believe to be a racist assumption about a mixed-race family,” Ms MacCarthy said. The family is requesting an apology from the airline.
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