About 22 people gathered at U.S. Airways Monday to demand an explanation for its treatment of Deshon Marman, the 20-year-old college student removed from an airplane and arrested on June 15 for allegedly refusing to pull up his sagging pants.
The airline is guilty of racial profiling and owes the African-American football player an apology, said the Rev. Amos Brown, the president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP. Marman's supporters are calling for a meeting between airline representatives and the civil rights organization.
U.S. Airways representatives did not speak to the demonstrators or return phone calls seeking comment.
“They’ll comment when they’re slapped with a lawsuit,” Brown said, adding that Marman has already filed a complaint. The family could not be reached for details.
A native San Franciscan, the University of New Mexico defensive player was in the Bay Area to attend the funeral of a friend. He said when the flight crew instructed him to pull up his pants, he told them he couldn't do so immediately since his hands were full carrying his baggage.
After reviewing the case, the San Mateo County district attorney declined to prosecute on charges of trespassing, battery and resisting arrest.
Airline officials have previously said that they took umbrage when Marman refused to obey orders from the flight crew, and that his clothing was not the issue. U.S. Airways has offered him a free flight, but has not reimbursed him for the flight to New Mexico he missed.
In an interview with reporters, Marman said he feels sorry for inconveniencing the other passengers.
“I never had any intention of interrupting the flight,” he said.
The University of New Mexico has issued affirmed its support for Marman.
"We plan to support Deshon, and we plan to help him move forward," said football coach Mike Locksley in a prepared statement.
--Bay City News contributed to this report.