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Civil Rights Leader Removed From AA Flight After Charged Incident With Another Passenger

Reverend William Barber was asked to leave the North Carolina-bound flight on Friday night after he confronted another passenger over his disparaging remarks.

North Carolina’s NAACP president was asked to leave an American Airlines flight bound for Raleigh—Durham International Airport (RDU) after an incident with another passenger late last Friday night.

Reverend William Barber was heading back to North Carolina from Washington D.C. after speaking at an interfaith event in the city.

The political leader described the incident in a statement, saying that a nearby passenger began to make derogatory comments against him and also made derisive comments about Barber’s need for two seats. Barber, who has a bone fusion arthritic disability, explained that the incident began when, “A passenger in a seat near me was talking loudly as the plane filled up. I asked the stewardess to request he bring it down a little bit, and she did.”

He added that, “Because of my disability, I could not turn my head to see him, but as she left, I heard him saying distasteful and disparaging things about me. He had problems with ‘those people’ and he spoke harshly about my need for ‘two seats,’ among other subjects.”

Barber explained that he was made to feel “uncomfortable” with the passenger’s choice of words and that he eventually “asked him why he was saying such things, and I said he did not know me, my condition.”

All of this, he said, took place before crew could give their safety instructions. After this, Barber stated, he was asked to leave the plane. He said didn’t “know who made the decision, but a plane official … came to my seat and said, ‘Sir you need to leave the plane.’”

The passenger said that he was upset at being asked to speak more quietly. The unnamed traveler also admitted that he could have dealt with the situation better.

The plane returned to gate and Barber was escorted off of the flight.

American Airlines confirmed the matter tWSOC-TV only by saying that a passenger was removed from one of its flights for not obeying crew instructions and airport police confirmed that no arrests had been made.

Barber was able to re-board a flight for RDU on Saturday.

[Photo: AP]

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3 Comments
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santarosaflyer April 25, 2016

Rev. Barber asked that another passengers asked that another passenger not treat him wit disrespect and the airline decided that Rev. Barber was the problem. Yes, he is an controversial person because he challenges the system of inequity and discrimination in the state. We need more 'controversial' people like him. Amen.

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Nicksterguy April 20, 2016

Well - he is a controversial person here in North Carolina - a lager size version of Al Sharpton.

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teevee April 20, 2016

this is all such BS. five years ago practically NO ONE was tossed off a flight for anything. now, if you pass a little gas or look at someone the wrong way you get tossed.