NAACP joins man arrested on US Airways flight

June 24, 2011 5:39:52 PM PDT
There are accusations of blatant racism in the case of a young man who was kicked off a plane and arrested because of how he was dressed.

The local chapter of the NAACP is now involved in the case of college football player Deshon Marman, who was kicked off a US Airways flight a week ago. Officers from the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP minced no words when they charged US Airways with a double standard when it comes to black passengers.

"This young man was profiled," said NAACP chapter president Rev. Amos Brown. "He's been a victim of racial injustice and US Air owes to him and his mother an apology."

As 20-year-old Marman boarded a flight, the University of New Mexico football player was told by a gate agent to pull up his pajama pants. Marman told ABC7 News in an exclusive interview that he complied with the agent's request when he reached his seat on board the plane.

"My pants were actually not below my knees or my buttocks," Marman said. "They were slightly below my waist."

Marman said crew members repeatedly harassed him. The captain made a citizen's arrest, charging Marman with trespassing. After police were called, Marman was removed from the plane, arrested, then booked into the San Mateo County jail.

Brown and other black community leaders say US Airways imposes a double standard because the airline allowed an Arizona man to fly while only wearing women's underwear just six days before the incident with Marman.

When Marman's mother saw the photo of the other man, she was furious.

"I was appalled that US Airways treated my son the way they did, and then okayed this cross dresser to come in not once, not twice, but from what I understand, he does this regular when he comes through the airways," Donna Doyle said.

Aside from the demand for an apology, the NAACP is asking US Airways to offer sensitivity training for their staff and executives.

Meanwhile, Marman is back at the University of New Mexico where he is enrolled on a football scholarship. Marman still faces trespassing charges and a possible additional charge of resisting arrest.

US Airways did not return ABC7's phone calls seeking a response on Friday. Last week, the airliner said there is no dress code on board their planes, but they expect their passengers to dress appropriately. ABC7 wanted to ask US Airways if the man who flew only in women's underwear fit their standards.


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