June 19th, 2011 at 9:15 AM ^

From my understanding, there was a line of people behind him pushing to get on the plane (we all know how much pushing goes on there) and he didn't have an extra hand to pull his pants up.  He said he would do it when he got to his seat, which according to him, he did.  Apparently that wasn't enough and he was arrested.

Now, like you said, I don't know the entire story, as I wasn't there, but this is what I have gathered from reading about it. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but from all I have read he tried to cooperate to the best of his ability, but that wasn't enough for the flight crew on a power trip.

Mitch Cumstein

June 19th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

but that wasn't enough for the flight crew on a power trip.

Exactly, I think this is the problem here. It could be a case of racism, but I've seen flight crews and other people in similar lines of employment go on power trips like this all the time regardless of the person on the receiving end's race. I think people are too quick to pull the race card just b/c the person is black. I mean did anyone pull the race card in the case of the girl with the short skirt?


June 19th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

At that point the issue has nothing to do with baggy pants or skirts too short, but only with disrespect.

The crew didn't feel threatened. They didn't feel that he was breaking FAA regulations. They felt that this young black kid wasn't giving them the proper respect, and they ARRESTED him.

Disrespect is not proper grounds for arrest. Disdain is not a crime, nor is it grounds for declaring a licensee to be a trespassor.


June 19th, 2011 at 11:40 PM ^

I've been away, but I agree with you there. That's different than the grounds that a lot of people have discussed. It's unfortunate that when a police officer is called in to dismiss someone, no matter how respectful they are, the officer rarely backs down. Idk if it's a matter of pride or of worrying about what may happen later or of overly tight regulations, but if there's an issue, I think that is it.
A cop and a captain not wanting to back down when they'd already hung their junk out there. Would've been a good time to say "okay, please be respectful the remainder of the flight." You bet your bootie he would've after that scare too.


June 19th, 2011 at 12:23 AM ^

see the problem. He kept his cool and was respectful. He fixed his pants once he got to his seat and didn't seem to bother anyone. There are a lot more concerning things that the airline industry needs to consider than harassing this guy. 


June 19th, 2011 at 2:09 AM ^

Us Air sucks. No surprise there. Actually all airlines suck these days. I'm sure this kind of stuff happens all the time too. Someone owes this kid an apology.


June 19th, 2011 at 7:22 AM ^

A. Telling a kid to hitch up his pants is not racist.  

B. Those of you insisting that he already pulled his pants up...where do you see that?  Every news report indicated otherwise, and nothing in this video shows that he had done it.

C. The airline has absolute authority over who gets on its plane.  This was an overreaction, obviously, but there is no lawsuit to be had here.  Just bad publicity.


June 19th, 2011 at 7:36 AM ^

So because the airline has authority they were justified?

If you say yes, then we just--obviously--have different moral values. Otherwise, you dig into this thing even a little and you get: 

kid with pants falling down and two suitcases

realizes problem but has to get to seat

gets to seat, is not aggressive, uses word sir repeatedly, insists problem is taken care of


lotta people, including people with guns, making a huge deal about a kid's butt, coercing him off plane and ARRESTING him

in a world where inappropriate attire including (to my mind much skankier) people with thongs, etcetera are hanging out all over

I don't plan to arrest them, either.


June 19th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

At no point did I say they were justified.  In fact, I specifically said it was an overreaction.  Nice reading comprehension.

Also, using the word "sir" doesn't mean you're being polite and cooperative.  The airline was being stupid, and he was being an ass. 

As for the arrest...once you don't do what the flight crew tells you to do, you get arrested.  At that point it's not about the fact that his butt is hanging out.


June 19th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

it because the airline says so. Cool; I don't take that position. But where do you get that he was being an ass? Not from the video, at least for me. I would have been a lot more pissed off than that. Some people take the position that you don't question authority. I don't; that's not the way I was raised, not the way I am raising my kids.

I didn't, of course, say you HADN'T noted it was an over-reaction, so--possibly--this reading comprehension charge is inapropriately applied. I objected to almost everything else about your post, in the most straightforward, fact-based manner that I could. 


June 19th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

As for the arrest...once you don't do what the flight crew tells you to do, you get arrested. At that point it's not about the fact that his butt is hanging out.

Look, I have plenty of respect for authority and the rule of law, but that statement is patently ridiculous.  You have to follow the flight crew's instructions when those instructions are within the crew's power to demand.  They say "sit down," you sit down.  They say "stop trying t throw the peanuts into the flight attendant's cleavage," you put the peanuts down. They say "stop trying to have sex in the bathroom"... well, they don't have much of a sense of adventure.

But when they say something that is completely outside the scope of their authority, the passenger is under NO obligation to oblige.  If they said to him, "turn your hat around," he doesn't have to. If they say "jump," he doesn't have to.  It is clear from the video that once he is in his seat, he has pulled up his pants, and is in no way interfering with the flight crew or being a danger or distraction to anyone. There is NO grounds to then remove him from the flight.


June 19th, 2011 at 7:51 AM ^

A) Correct.  Telling a kid to pull up his pants is not inherently racist. It isn't necessarily the purvue of a flight attendant, but whatever. What DOES cause me to cock an eyebrow is that they made this much of a big deal about it.

B) The story seems to be that he was asked to pull them up, but he got to his seat before he did so.

C) Wrong. There is most likely a lawsuit to be had here (whether he sues is another matter; it wouldn't be worth that much).  An airline does no have "absolute authority."  They can't kick people off for being Muslim, or for being black, or if they don't like the cut of their jib. Civil rights laws still apply.  And they can't arrest people (which the pilot did, via citizen's arrest) for failing to follow a ridiculous request that is unrelated to their powers to ensure the safety and orderly nature of a flight. 

If they had ordered him to "take those damn dreads out and comb his hair like a normal person," and he refused, could they arrest him?


June 19th, 2011 at 7:52 AM ^

How ironic this occurred in San Francisco, seemingly one of the most laid back and tolerant places on the planet. Idiocy can happen anywhere. It is amazing what happens when situations ratchet out of control. This never should have happened. I wonder if the flight attendant would have been satisfied if he had stopped the whole line, put his bags down, hitched his pants, and then got on the plane. He was put in a lose - lose situation.


June 19th, 2011 at 9:16 AM ^

The young man certainly didn't hurt his case with his actions on the video.

Based on news coverage it seems like the airline employee was being a bit too strident in demanding that the guy pull his pants up immediately. I'm not sure whether the pants pulled down style violates a reasonable standard of indecency, but it probably wasn't so egregious that she had to insist on immediate compliance.

I don't like the style, but I really dislike front-line employees who are power-mad. Yanking the kid off the plane (or tricking him into willingly getting off by lying to him), handcuffing and arresting him seems way out of line.

Sure, if he just did what she told him to do the situation would have ended, but this was not a situation that required immediate snap-to, no-questions-asked compliance. Remedial training is in order for the gate attendant. The bigger error was on the part of the airline (and the police).

Hope the kid gets an apology (doubtful) and wins a lawsuit (possible). The airline will ccertainly lose the PR battle.


June 19th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

Anyone in the air line industry please humour me and explain why checking his boarding pass after he's already on a plane? What difference will that make? Also lost in this is the person shutting down the person filming (watched this on my phone volume wasn't good), not really sure what was said but last I checked that person can film whatever they want. This player is going to be walking into some serious cash soon. I know the police lying to him about the refund will probably be tough to prove but what reasonable grounds did they have to arrest him? I'd really be curious to see what they charged him with.


June 19th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

Note first of all that I think this is ridiculous and everyone involved (except the player, obvs.) should get sacked.

Could the supposed objetion to saggy pants on an airline flight be safety related? i.e. someone with their pants sagged can't move as fast / may be a tripping hazard in an emergency? Is that an argument the airline could legitimately make?

Of course, that would only "justify" their initial request, not their subsequent behavior.

Semi-related unhip question: Having been out of the "youth culture" for a spell, at what point did the saggy pants style go from  "wear baggy jeans that show a couple inches of boxers" to literally belting your pants below the ass cheeks? It seems to have reached a certain level of ridiculousness. The (possibly apocryphal) explanation I always hear for the style is that prison inmates are given ill-fitting clothes and are not allowed to have belts, resulting in a sagged look by necessity - the "urban" sag style is thus a sort of show of solidarity. The current extremely sagged style seems to jump the shark on that one since now a belt is required to hold the pants on the upper thighs.

Also, any male who sags skinny jeans should be whacked upside the head /get off my lawn


June 19th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

He was getting too preachy.  It sounds like he just wanted to rant against other black people really.  Did he watch the video? How did the young man set them back? By being polite and respectful? It seems like he complied with the request to raise his pants, he just couldn't figure out why he was being kicked off a flight. 


June 19th, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

He should have pulled them up immediately when told to. I reject and have no respect for that particular custom. He was not respectful, and did not comply, and even says so when the cop is questioning him.


June 19th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

Maybe.  We've all been confronted by people on power trips, and more often than not we give in even if we are in the right.  That's fine.

But legally speaking, what does it matter if he was respectful? Why does it matter that he didn't comply? In this country, you don't get to arrest people because they are disrespectful.  The bigger threat to society is not young whippersnappers with their pants around their ankles; the bigger threat is the unbridled power of authority figures to punish whatever conduct they don't like.

No one is in the right here... but the kid's actions are forgiveable. The flight crews actions are not.


June 19th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

I don't even think the airline's actions were that terrible. If (and this is just speculation) they were catering to other customers who had a problem with his pants, what are they supposed to do? Kicking him off the plane seems ridiculous, but it's their plane and they should be able to do what they want.

The TSA or Air Marshal or whoever arrested him was way out of line though, there just isn't an excuse for that assuming we know most of the story.


June 19th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

But it seems unlikely that a customer complaint would reach the flight attendant before he boarded. And I don't even really have a problem with them asking him to hike up the pants, because, you know, ass and everything.

It was after that that things got silly.