The Transportation Security Administration on Friday apologized to a traveler at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after she said an agent "snapped my braids like reins" and said "giddyup" during a pat-down, The Washington Post reports.
"Going through @TSA at @mspairport, the agent said she needed to pat down my braids. She pulled them behind my shoulders, laughed & said 'giddyup!' as she snapped my braids like reins," Tara Houska, an attorney and activist for the rights of indigenous people, wrote on Twitter.
"My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman. I am angry, humiliated. Your 'fun' hurt," she added.
"When I informed the middle-aged blonde woman who had casually used her authority to dehumanize and disrespect me, she said 'Well it was just in fun, I'm sorry. Your hair is lovely.' <— that is NOT an apology and it is NOT okay," Houska wrote.
The agency said in a statement: "TSA was made aware of allegations made by a traveler about her screening experience at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Monday morning. TSA officials investigated the incident and on Tuesday afternoon, TSA Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven spoke with the traveler. He apologized for actions and a comment that were insensitive and made by a TSA officer to the traveler during the screening experience."
It adds, "TSA holds its employees to the highest standards of professional conduct and any type of improper behavior is taken seriously."
Van Leuven confirmed that the incident happened "exactly as described" by Houska.
"It happened. It was humiliating. TSA apologized. I really, really hope this doesn't happen to anyone else moving forward," Houska wrote on Twitter in response to the TSA statement.
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