2021 FLYING WHILE BLACK—Despite Strong Evidence That An Elderly Black Tukwila Man Was Removed From A Jetblue Flight Owing To Race Discrimination, The 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals Rubber Stamped A District Court Dismissal Of His Civil Rights Lawsuit. The SLF Has Filed An Appeal To The U.S. Supreme Court Seeking To Reverse The Decision Of The 9th Circuit, Because It Mistakenly Applied An Anti-Terrorist Provision Of An Aviation Statute To The Civil Rights Case. That Provision Gives The Pilot Total Unfettered Discretion To Remove Any Passenger For Any Reason, Which When Applied To Acts Of Racial Discrimination, Means That When A Person Of Color Boards A Commercial Airplane In America, They Leave Their Civil Rights At The Airplane’s Door.

Today, Petitioner Abdikarim Karrani filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of his removal from a JetBlue flight after a white flight attendant pushed Mr. Karrani and then said he pushed her. 

After the plane landed, the pilot did no meaningful investigation even though other passengers said the flight attendant was lying, and even though a police officer, who interviewed Mr. Karrani, the flight crew, and other passengers testified he saw no evidence of assault.  The police officer removed Mr. Karrani at the request of the pilot and the flight attendant, because the flight attendant was afraid of Mr. Karrani. 

In another case in Los Angeles, the same flight attendant falsely claimed that a Black American woman pushed her.   The passenger was removed because the flight attendant said she would not fly unless the passenger was removed.   

Here are some of the holding by U.S. circuit courts in America:

  • An air carrier’s decisions to refuse transport are not subject to liability unless the decision is arbitrary or capricious (the law does not say this; judges made this up as a barrier to discrimination claims).
  • Review of a decision to refuse transport is restricted to what information was actually known by the decisionmaker at the time of the decision. The test is not what the Captain reasonably should have known (the law does not say this; judges made this up as a barrier to discrimination claims).
  • The Captain (or other decisionmaker) is entitled to accept at face value the representations made to him by other air carrier employees. Thus, even mistaken decisions are protected as long as they are not arbitrary or capricious (the law does not say this; judges made this up as a barrier to discrimination claims).
  • The biases of a non-decisionmaker may not be attributed to the decisionmakers (the law does not say this; judges made this up as a barrier to discrimination claims).
  • The jury must be instructed that the Captain has the power to refuse transport because transport of a passenger “might be inimical to safety” unless that decision was arbitrary or capricious (this is the language of the law, but it has nothing to do with claims of discrimination).

The circuit courts say that the pilots don’t have to investigate before removing a passenger—they just have to hear a lie from a crewmember—and even if a crew member is a bigot the court won’t look at the crewmember’s bias in the decision-making process.  Jack Sheridan said, “The Supreme Court needs to review this, because as it stands, Black Americans lose their civil rights once they board a plane, and they are unprotected against removal based on false statements by biased and racist crew members.”

Click here to see Karrani Petition

Click here to see Appendix to petition

2018 JetBlue Crew Orders Removal Of Elderly Black Tukwila Man From Plane After White Flight Attendant Pushes Him—Tukwila Man Sues for Civil Rights Violations

October 15, 2018

Seattle, WA

Today 81-year-old Abdikarim Karrani filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle for violation of his civil rights owing to his mistreatment on a January 2018 JetBlue flight from JFK to Seattle, which made an unscheduled landing in Billings Montana after another passenger became ill. In the air, a flight attendant pushed Mr. Karrani as he stood in front of a restroom door, and upon landing had him removed by police.

Click here to see complaint and police report in appendix

Click here to see King 5 news story

Click here to see Billings TV coverage


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