Last month, Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained with his mother, Muhammad Ali’s first wife, and many suspected it was because of their ties to the Nation of Islam. After speaking to Congress about his experience with the Transportation Security Administration, Ali was detained yet again while boarding a flight back to Fort Lauderdale, according to The New York Times.
Ali gave his Illinois state ID to JetBlue flight to get his boarding pass when he was told that there was a problem and that he would have to call the Department of Homeland Security. Fortunately, Ali’s lawyer, Chris Mancini, was traveling with him and witnessed the ordeal first hand.
“The same state ID from Illinois that he traveled to Washington on was rejected,” told the Times.
Ali was then able to provide his passport and was given his boarding pass, but only after a 20-25 minute interaction that only adds to Ali’s claims that he was wrongfully targeted.
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“This whole thing smacks of some sort of retaliation for his testimony,” Mancini said.
T.S.A. later released a statement claiming Ali was actually stopped for only seven minutes because the size of his jewelry.
“Upon arriving at the airline check-in counter, a call was made to confirm Mr. Ali’s identity with T.S.A. officials,” the agency said. “When Mr. Ali arrived at the checkpoint, his large jewelry alarmed the checkpoint scanner. He received a targeted pat-down in the area of his jewelry to clear the alarm and was cleared to catch his flight.”
Mancini says that T.S.A. is “making up stories” and that he plans to file a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.
“People need to start paying attention to what’s happening in our country,” he said. “Our rights are being eroded.”