CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The NAACP and the ACLU are both calling for an investigation into a federal employee after three former federal air marshals told FOX 46 their supervisor ordered them to racially profile "black people" using the "n-word."
“I'm disgusted. I'm angry. And I'm appalled that we are dealing with this garbage every single day,” said Minister Corine Mack, the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP. “It disturbs me that we're dealing with this type of hatred.
The former air marshals told FOX 46 that their supervisor, who was promoted to transportation security manager in Sanford, Fla., told them to "get the black people," using a racial slur "several times" at the Orlando International Airport, where they all worked, in the late aughts.
“He told us stop and talk to the black people get the black people because they're the ones who have warrants but he don't use black people he used the n-word,” said former air marshal turned whistleblower, Steve Theodoropoulos.
Mack, who viewed the remarks on a laptop inside a church, says she’s outraged by what our investigation uncovered.
She is now demanding those involved be held accountable.
“There's enough meat there for not only an investigation there's enough meat there to at least temporarily suspend that person," said Mack. "We can't tolerate this and we as Americans should not tolerate it."
Mack plans to write a letter to the TSA along with the North Carolina NAACP.
“Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me," said Hugh Handeyside, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. "But it's completely outrageous and very troubling."
“Certainly seems that there should be some follow up action promptly to investigate these claims,” he added.
The ACLU is looking into the recently disclosed "Quiet Skies" surveillance program and the secret checklist of every day behaviors air marshals say they were given to target innocent citizens. The ACLU says all of this raises constitutional concerns.
“We cannot quietly let this go,” said Mack. “I don't cuss but that's what I would like to do right now and thank God we're sitting in a church,” she said.
In a letter the TSA defends its surveillance programs, telling FOX 46 the use of behavior indicators -like whistling and exaggerated yawning - have become "an accepted practice for many years within the law enforcement, customs and border enforcement, defense, and security communities both in the United States and internationally."
Two of the whistleblowers, who are former cops, say this type of behavior identification training was not something they ever used in law enforcement.