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A white woman accused of trafficking her biracial daughter

A white woman who was suspected of child smuggling by Southwest Airlines employees while traveling with her 10-year-old biracial daughter has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the airline.

Mary MacCarthy was traveling from Los Angeles (California) to Denver (Colorado) to attend her brother’s funeral, she explained to NBC News almost two years ago. Upon landing, the woman and the girl were confronted by police officers because a flight attendant suspected that it could be a case of human trafficking.

A federal lawsuit filed last Thursday in a Colorado district court accuses Southwest airline staff of racial profiling for considering it suspicious “based on a racially tinged assumption of being a mixed-race family.”

“The officers began questioning MacCarthy and made it clear that they had been given the racially tinged information that the daughter was possibly being trafficked by him, simply because MacCarthy is white and her daughter is black,” the lawsuit states.

David Lane, a lawyer for MacCarthy, says the lawsuit seeks to demand accountability and that the company evaluate the training it offers its staff. He indicated that using race to try to deal with a felony crime was a “easy, stereotypical formula.”

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“Just as police are not constitutionally authorized to stop and search youth of color based on race, American corporations are also not authorized to use this type of distinction to use law enforcement to stop and question families [ made up of people] of different races, simply based on their racial differences, which Southwest did,” Lane said.