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Afro prompts hair pat-down by TSA

Passenger comes to tears after security officials at Georgia airport insist on checking her hair fearing she's hiding explosives inside

An airline passenger in the US who had already been through airport security was left in tears after security officers insisted on checking her Afro-style hair in case she was concealing explosives.

Hairdresser Isis Brantley was stopped at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, after she had passed a scanning device.


Hiding place: Hairdresser Isis Brantley was forced to undergo a
humiliating pat down in front of everyone rather than in a private room.
She had to tolerate officials searching her hair and stripping her scalp.


As she travelled down an escalator, she claims she heard someone yell, "Hey you, hey you, ma'am, stop. Stop -- the lady with the hair, you."

Two TSA agents told her she could not go any further until they checked her hair for explosives, said Brantley, of Dallas, Texas.

Outraged
Reluctantly she allowed them to do it and the TSA staff patted her hair down right there instead of asking to return to a private area for screening.

"And so she started patting my hair, and I was in tears at that point," said Brantley.

"And she was digging in my scalp."

"I was outraged," Brantley said. "I was humiliated. I was confused."

After the pat-down, Brantley complained to a TSA supervisor at Hartsfield-Jackson who then apologised to her.

"She said, 'Ma'am, please, I promise you, I'm going to take care of it. I'm so sorry that happened to you,'" Brantley said. "And I'm like, 'OK, that's weird.'"

Brantley, who frequently travels across the US to see clients, said she has worn her hair naturally for 20 years and has never had her hair checked until Monday's incident.

She said she is scared she will be harassed again the next time she flies.

Officialspeak
"Our screening procedures are designed to ensure the security of the traveling public," TSA said in a statement.

"Additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden. This passenger left the checkpoint prior to the completion of the screening process. She was offered but refused private screening."

TSA pat-downs
>> In June 2011, a 95-year-old woman in the final stages of a battle with leukaemia was detained and humiliatingly searched at a Florida airport while in a wheelchair.

>> In April 2011, there was fierce protests after a video showed TSA agents patting down a six-year-old girl at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

>> Following the uproar, the TSA has reduced the rules for children. They no longer have to remove shoes or bear pat-downs.

TSA pat-downs
>> In June 2011, a 95-year-old woman in the final stages of a battle with leukaemia was detained and humiliatingly searched at a Florida airport while in a wheelchair.

>> In April 2011, there was fierce protests after a video showed TSA agents patting down a six-year-old girl at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

>> Following the uproar, the TSA has reduced the rules for children. They no longer have to remove shoes or bear pat-downs.

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