The Transportation Security Administration has placed two of its officers on administrative leave after a racist display was found in an employees’ area at Miami International Airport last week.
CNN was first to report on the display, which consisted of two stuffed gorillas tied together and hung with a noose in an area underneath the airport.
An unnamed TSA employee with knowledge of the incident told CNN that it was found on July 21, tied to a pole in the middle of a workstation where officers screen passengers’ luggage before it is loaded onto planes.
The network says it spoke with four people about the display, which was found by three employees who immediately notified their manager. The manager, however, reportedly “tried to downplay” the incident by saying it was just a joke.
One of the officers told CNN that he and others at the airport were upset and felt that management was not handling the matter properly.
A photo of the offensive display appeared on Instagram. No names of any of those thought to be responsible for it have been released.
In a statement on Tuesday, the TSA acknowledged that it had placed two employees on leave over the incident and said it was conducting an investigation.
“The display was immediately removed and an investigation was launched into who was responsible for the unacceptable behavior. TSA does not tolerate racist or offensive behavior and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions,” the statement read.
The TSA is one of the most diverse sectors of government, ProPublica reported earlier this year. According to the Office of Personnel Management, around 25% of airport screeners are black and about 23% are Hispanic.
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