By Lee Hubbard
The San Francisco NAACP took a stand against US Airways for its “unfair treatment and removal of Deshon Marmon from their airplane” on June 15th, for wearing sagging pants.
“This young man was profiled,” said San Francisco NAACP President, the Reverend Dr. Amos Brown, at an NAACP meeting at Jones Methodist Church. Brown said, “He’s been a victim of racial injustice and US Air owes him and his mother an apology.”
Dr. Brown is not an advocate for the baggy or sagging pants fad, calling it a hindrance to black youth. “The issue is how he was handled by airline officials and the San Francisco and the San Mateo County police”, said Brown.
Marmon, a 20-year-old student at New Mexico University, was in San Francisco to attend the funeral of his friend David Henderson. According to Mrs. Donna Doyle, Marmon’s mother, at the boarding check-in, a black flight attendant asked him to pull up his pajama pants. Both hands were full, but he proceeded to pull up his pajama pants to the best of his ability and continued to board the flight.
A female flight attendant went to the captain and complained about Marmon’s pants. The captain approached and asked him to get off the plane. When Marmon didn’t comply the captain ordered everyone off the plane. He then informed Marmon that he was going to make a citizen’s arrest. Marmon who was bewildered by the captain’s requests asked the captain why he had to leave, saying “He was just like everybody else on the plane”. The captain reportedly said, “You’re not like everybody else”. Shortly afterward, San Francisco Police and San Mateo County Sheriffs boarded the plane. Marmon cut his losses and began to walk off the plane, when he reached the gate 10 police officers took him into custody.
Marmon was arrested for trespassing, battery and resisting arrest. He was held in jail for two days before posting bail at $11,000. At the time of his arrest, Andrew Christie, a spokesman for US Airways, said employees can decide whether boarding passengers are dressed properly to ensure, “the safety and the comfort” of other passengers. At the NAACP meeting, Brown held up a picture of a white man who had flown US Airways a week before Marmon. He was exposed, dressed in a halter top, with blue panties and high heeled shoes. A complaint was filed against the man for being overly exposed by a passenger, but the airline still allowed the man to fly. “There is a double standard here and it breeds injustice”, said Brown.
The SF NAACP office will be meeting with US Air executives and with the Lawyers Committee of Civil Rights to discuss the mistreatment of Marmon. The NAACP said they may consider a campaign to withhold patronage of US Airways. Mrs. Doyle said her son is back in New Mexico attending summer school and summer football practice and said “He would have done some things differently looking back on it”. She thanks God that her son didn’t end up like Oscar Grant. Mrs. Doyle said, “Now, I just want to clear my son’s name. I want an apology from US Airways, the pilot, the flight attendant and from the San Mateo and San Francisco Police. They need to be accountable for their wrong doings.”