Mary MacCarthy, the mother accused of trafficking her biracial daughter by Southwest Airlines employees, has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company.
Southwest Accused of Racial Discrimination
In a shocking turn of events, Mary MacCarthy, a white mother who was suspected of trafficking her biracial daughter in October 2021 by Southwest Airlines employees, has taken legal action against the company. The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in the District Court of Colorado, accuses Southwest Airlines of racial discrimination. MacCarthy alleges that she and her child were flagged as suspicious “based on a racist assumption about a mixed‐race family”.
The incident occurred nearly two years back when MacCarthy was traveling to Denver from Los Angeles with her 10-year-old daughter to attend her brother’s funeral. Upon landing in Denver, MacCarthy and her daughter were confronted by police officers because a flight attendant suspected potential human trafficking.
Details of the Incident
According to the lawsuit, “The officers began questioning Ms. MacCarthy and made it clear that they were given the racially charged information that Ms. MacCarthy’s daughter was possibly being trafficked by her simply because Ms. MacCarthy is White and her daughter is Black.”
The attorney representing MacCarthy, David Lane, stated that the lawsuit is aimed at bringing accountability and urging the airline to reexamine its own training. He condemned the use of racial profiling to address a serious crime with a “stereotypical, easy formula”.
Lane further added, “Just as the police are constitutionally not permitted to stop-and-frisk young men of color based upon their race, corporate America is similarly not permitted to resort to such profiling in using law enforcement to stop and question racially diverse families simply based upon their divergent races, which is what Southwest did.”
Impact on the Family
During the police confrontation, MacCarthy’s daughter broke down in tears and remains traumatized by the incident almost two years later. MacCarthy shared her daughter’s distress with NBC News in 2021, describing how her daughter was “sobbing” throughout the encounter.
The flight attendant had flagged the family as suspicious due to their late boarding and request for other passengers to change seats so they could sit together. Additionally, the report claimed that MacCarthy instructed her daughter not to speak to the flight crew, an accusation that MacCarthy firmly denies.
The lawsuit demands a jury trial, attorney costs and fees, as well as damages that will be determined during the trial. The incident was initially investigated by a human trafficking unit investigator from the Denver Police Department. However, no further action was deemed necessary, and the case was closed as “unfounded”.
Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.