Thursday, 5 October 2017

Woman dragged off Southwest plane 'because she's Muslim' (Video)

A lawyer for a woman seen on video being dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight in Maryland said Wednesday she never claimed her allergy to dogs was life-threatening and that her eviction from the aircraft was motivated by anti-Muslim bias.

Forty-six-year-old Anila Daulatzai's lawyer says she agreed with crew members that she'd be fine with the dogs on the cross-country flight as long as they sat far apart.

But she says other Southwest employees told her to leave the plane. 

The airline says that it required Daulatzai to produce a medical certificate, without which it could deny her the right to stay on board.

But Daulatzai's attorneys say that the airline never asked for a medical certificate, according to The Washington Post.
Instead, they say their client was 'profiled, abused, interrogated, detained, and subjected to false reporting and the trauma of racist, vitriolic public shaming precisely because she is a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim.'

'She survived sexism, racial profiling, and police brutality that fateful day,' according to her attorneys at the Reston, Virginia law firm of Hall & Sethi. 
'Her mistreatment was particularly distressing because she is presently pregnant with her first child.'

Police were called and forcibly removed her. Other passengers on the flight to Los Angeles took video and posted it online.
A Southwest spokesman said she refused to leave, despite claiming a life-threatening pet allergy.
But her lawyers insist that Daulatzai told airline staff that she would be fine on the plane. 
Nonetheless, officers from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police 'pulled her from her seat by her belt loop' and 'dragged [her] through the aisle exposed with torn pants.' 
Her lawyers say Daulatzai is pregnant and required medical treatment after the September 26 incident at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
'Daulatzai has also received hate mail, including racist messages and threats of further violence,' her lawyers say. 
'There was an attempted break in into her home. She has since left her home, fearing for her safety.' 
Flight 1525 was preparing to leave from Baltimore to head to Los Angeles on Tuesday night when the incident occurred. 
The incident was recorded by Bill Dumas, and in the video the woman can be heard demanding the officers to let her go.

At the start of the video, the woman apologizes and says that her father is having surgery as the officers mover her forward.  
'What are you doing?' she asks the officers as other passengers are heard telling the woman to leave the plane peacefully. 

The woman then tells the officers that she 'needs to close' her pants. But she accuses one officer of 'ripping' them as he tried to escort her off the plane. 
In the video, one officer is then seen grabbing the woman and pulling her away from her seat. 
'I will walk off! Don't touch me!' she yells as she clings to the back of her seat.  
Eventually, passengers on the plane turned on the officers, yelling at them for pushing the woman forward. 

'She's walking!' one passenger is heard saying as the cop tries to push the woman down the aisle. 
After a few moments, the woman turns around and tells the officers that she's a professor, but the cops ignore her and move her forward toward the plane's exit.

Southwest Airlines told that the woman was asked to provide her medical certificate to prove the allergy, but she was unable to provide that document. 

'There was one emotional support animal and one pet onboard the aircraft. Our policy states that a Customer (without a medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard,' a spokesperson for Southwest told

According to the airline, the flight crew 'made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved'.
The Maryland Transportation Authority Police said in a statement that '[d]espite her clear attempt to resist a law enforcement officer, Ms. Daulatzai was professionally removed from the aircraft within the guidelines of the MDTA Police. 

'This remains an open case that will be handled in the appropriate venue, not through various media channels.'

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