Lawyer: Southwest targeted allergic Muslim woman on flight
Posted October 4
Updated October 5
BALTIMORE — A woman seen on video being dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight in Maryland never claimed her allergy to dogs was life-threatening, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Anila Daulatzai did tell the crew that she was allergic to the two dogs traveling in the cabin, and they agreed that she could manage by sitting away from the dogs, near the rear of the plane, according to a statement from attorney Arjun Sethi.
Daulatzai, a 46-year-old professor, then took her seat and was grading papers when a series of Southwest representatives questioned her, he said. A Southwest representative ultimately asked her to leave the Sept. 26 flight to Los Angeles, and when she refused, they summoned the Maryland Transportation Authority Police to eject her.
Lt. Kevin Ayd, a spokesman for the police agency, said in a statement Wednesday that officers responded to a direct request from a Southwest captain to remove the passenger.
"Despite her clear attempt to resist a law enforcement officer, Ms. Daulatzai was professionally removed from the aircraft within the guidelines of the MDTA Police" the statement said.
The lawyer also says that Daulatzai, who is Muslim, was racially profiled.
"Police pulled her from her seat by her belt loop, dragged her through the aisle exposed with torn pants, and humiliated her for the world to see in a now viral video," Sethi said. Daulatzai is pregnant with her first child, her lawyer said.
Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said the next day that Daulatzai had told them she had a life-threatening pet allergy, and lacked a medical certificate proving she could travel safely with animals on board the cross-country flight.
Daulatzai was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and other misdemeanor offenses. The police denied a request by The Associated Press for a copy of the arrest report, claiming the investigation remains open.