Feds will investigate airport security official's claim of Somali-American profiling

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A federal agency has opened an investigation after a Minneapolis airport security official testified he was told to profile Somali-Americans.

The Office of Inspector General with the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it will look into the claims that a supervisor "advised [the official] to treat members of the Somali community differently" than other people who visit the Transportation Security Administration office there.

Where is this coming from?

Just last week, TSA assistant security director Andrew Rhoades, who works at the Minneapolis office, testified that his bosses told him to profile Somali imams and community members that had come to his office.

Reaction to the testimony

That quickly led to calls for an investigation, including from Sen. Al Franken, who in a letter said racial and ethnic profiling "undermines trust in the authorities and causes resentment among targeted groups."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Minnesota also asked for a probe, calling the claims "extremely troubling."

On Thursday, the organization (which is the largest Islamic civil liberties group in the U.S.) applauded Homeland Security's decision.

"We welcome this investigation and hope it results in the accountability and transparency needed to rebuild trust in the Minnesota TSA," said the group's Executive Director Jaylani Hussein in a news release. "Racial and religious profiling is unconstitutional, immoral, ineffective, and undermines the core principals of our democracy."

After the investigation, the Homeland Security news release said they will publish a full report "as appropriate." They're also encouraging anyone with similar stories about profiling or abuse to contact the Office of Inspector General hotline.

According to the New York Times, the TSA said it does not support racial profiling, and is reviewing the complaint (though also said it’d be unfair to paint the entire agency based on one possible interaction with an employee and supervisor).

Somali-Americans in Minnesota

Minnesota Compass says about 23,000 Somalis live in Minnesota, many of them in the Twin Cities area. That metro area is home to the largest Somali population in the United States, U.S. News and World Report said.

Terrorism recruiting within the community has been an issue for both law enforcement and the leaders within it.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 10.38.01 PM

Worthington settles police brutality lawsuit for $590,000, agrees to reforms

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kelvin Francisco Rodriguez, who spent five days in the ICU after being arrested.

Michael Munoz

Rochester superintendent admits he plagiarized letter to staff

Med City Beat broke the story, prompting the superintendent to apologize.

police tape, crime scene

Man and woman, aged 55 and 62, found dead in their home

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz: COVID-19 guidance for Christmas likely to be similar to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving featured a ban on social gatherings with non-household members.

CCI 3

Mall of America is offering a virtual Santa experience this year

People can virtually tour Santa's Candy Cane Institute.

PD Shimmers 4

Annual guide to finding holiday lights displays in MN is released

More than 80 holiday displays are on this year's list.

duluth police department

Duluth police officer charged in September shooting

The officer, who is a five-year veteran, is charged with two felonies.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 1.31.42 PM

Enbridge gets final approval to start construction on Line 3 replacement

The project has attracted criticism from environmental and tribal groups.

Kirk Cousins

Is it a 4-team race for the final NFC playoff spot?

The key for Minnesota likely requires winning on the road against two top NFC teams.

Related