An anti-police activist says she was booted off an American Airlines flight because of her race and because the airline didn’t approve of the vulgar anti-police mask she wore.
The airline, however, said it was not just the mask, but the conduct of the person wearing it that led to her being asked to leave.
On July 29, Arlinda Johns wanted to take Flight 1737 from Charlotte, North Carolina, to St. Louis, Missouri.
Johns ended up telling her side of the story to WPLG-TV in Florida.
“I think I got taken off the plane because I’m black,” Johns said.
“I am an abolitionist,” she said. “I believe that we need to defund and abolish the police.”
Johns told the station that she was asked to cover the mask and complied. A flight attendant later came by to check.
“She came back and stood over and said, ‘I better not see that other mask,’” Johns said.
“I said, ‘Leave me alone, lady.’ She stood there, she said, ‘OK, I got you.’”
From her perspective, the flight attendant walked quickly to the front of the plane, which was taxiing down the runway.
The plane then returned to the gate, and Johns was removed.
Laura Masvidal, a spokesperson for American Airlines, gave USA Today its side of the story.
“[The flight] returned to the gate before departure after a customer refused to follow crew member instructions to remove or cover a face mask with offensive language,” the statement read.
“The customer was offered an alternate face covering, and although initially complying, it was reported that they later continued to display the offensive language. After arriving at the gate, the customer was asked to deplane.”
“Our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience and we will continue to look into this matter. We are refunding the unused portion of the ticket.”
Johns, who uses the name Tray Rock on Facebook, posted a video of the final moments of her non-flight on Facebook.
She also tweeted about the incident, using a slightly different name and claiming the airline was “gonna pay for this.”
Johns said she ended up renting a car and driving to Illinois, which had been her destination when she left Charlotte.
“This is what American Airlines is doing, and this is what happened to me,” she said.