American Airlines Sued By Black Passengers: Know More Here

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Three Black men have filed a lawsuit alleging that American Airlines engaged in “blatant and egregious race discrimination” when they were kicked from a flight on Wednesday.

Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, along with five other Black male passengers, are accused of being removed from American Flight 832 on January 5, 2024, from Phoenix to JFK in New York City “without any valid reason, based solely on their race.”

According to the complaint, each man was approached by an American Airlines representative before takeoff, who gave them the order to exit the aircraft. The travellers followed through.

“Once they reached the jet bridge, they saw that several other Black men were also being removed from the plane. It appeared to Plaintiffs that American had ordered all of the Black male passengers on Flight 832 off the plane,” the complaint reads.

The suit claims that American personnel informed the men that their removal was due to a body odour complaint. It states that none of the plaintiffs “had offensive body odour” and that none of them was informed that they individually had any.

The lawsuit claims that when the plaintiffs suggested that they had been singled out because they were Black, at least one American representative agreed with them.

The Public Citizen Litigation Group, which is representing the plaintiffs, released a cell phone film that some of the guys took. It depicts a tumultuous situation in which they are questioning the airline’s behaviour. One man is heard stating, “So this is discrimination.”

“I agree, I agree,” says a woman wearing a badge who appears to be an airline employee.

“We’re the only ones getting taken off the plane,” says one man, panning across the group. “Look at us.”

In another video, a man comments, “This is crazy. Y’all just took like eight Black people off the plane.”

The complaint states that the plaintiffs were not seated together and did not know one other before the travel.

According to the lawsuit, the males were informed at the gate that the body odour complaint had been lodged by a White male flight attendant.

The airline said there were no flights available that evening, and after nearly an hour, the men were finally permitted back on.

“Plaintiffs then had to reboard the plane and endure the stares of the largely white passengers who viewed them as the cause of the substantial delay. They suffered during the entire flight home, and the entire incident was traumatic, upsetting, scary, humiliating, and degrading,” the complaint reads.

“We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us,” American Airlines said in a statement.

“Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people.”

The plaintiffs are requesting attorneys’ costs in addition to “declaratory relief, just compensation for their pain and suffering, and a punitive damage award sufficient to deter American from discriminating against Black passengers in the future.”

The complaint also mentions “American’s pattern of discriminating against Black passengers,” which prompted the airline to get a warning from the NAACP in 2017. Nine months later, the airline had addressed the organization’s concerns and the warning was withdrawn.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ treatment fit into that pattern.

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