An attorney for the woman dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight by police last week said she is a victim of sexism, racial profiling, and police brutality.
In a statement Wednesday, the attorney said the incident was especially distressing for his client, 45-year-old Anila Daulatzai, because she is pregnant with her first child.
The incident occurred, he said, after she asked to be moved away from the dogs because of her allergies, which are not life-threatening. Daulatzai now faces criminal charges, the lawyer said.
Southwest Airlines said the incident, which took place Sept. 26 on Flight 1525 from Baltimore to Los Angeles, started when Daulatzai told the flight crew that she had a “life-threatening pet allergy.”
According to the airline, Daulatzai brought this to their attention because there was an emotional-support dog and a pet on the flight. The airline said that for Daulatzai to remain on the flight, she would need to show a medical certificate.
“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 Southwest representative told Business Insider in a statement last week. “Our Flight Crew made repeated attempts to explain the situation to the Customer, however, she refused to deplane and law enforcement became involved,” the airline said.
Daulatzai was then forcibly removed from the plane by police officers from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police. The incident was filmed by a fellow passenger and shared online.
The attorney, a civil rights lawyer named Arjun S. Sethi, said in an emailed statement that Southwest’s accounting of how events transpired is not accurate and that Daulatzai was targeted because she ” is a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim.”
The statement is also posted on the website of Hall & Sethi , a Virginia-based law firm. Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Daulatzai’s account of the incident.
According to Sethi, Daulatzai told Southwest Airlines employees she had an allergy to dogs and that together they decided she should move to the back of the plane, far away from the animals.
“Contrary to the Southwest statement and various media reports, Professor Daulatzai never asked for the dogs to be removed from the plane, did not request an EpiPen, nor did she ever claim that her allergies were life-threatening,” Sethi said in the statement.
Sethi said after she took her seat in the back, she was approached by Southwest employees who asked her questions. He said she answered all questions, but was never asked for a medical certification.
More Info at: Business Insider