Mobile phone footage shows the moment college professor Anila Daulatzai was removed from the Southwest Airlines flight by police.
Officials say she was removed from the Washington to Los Angeles flight because she had said she had a life-threatening allergy to a pair of dogs that were traveling in the plane’s cabin.
It is a claim Daulatzai’s lawyers deny, instead alleging their client was “profiled, abused, interrogated, detained, and subjected to false reporting and the trauma of racist, vitriolic public shaming precisely because she is a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim.”
The lawyers say Daulatzai told the crew she was allergic to the animals, but they say she never suggested her condition was life-threatening.
It is also claimed she said she would cope if she was sitting further away, before sitting down and started doing some work.
The 46-year-old claims she was then questioned by several crew and told to leave the plane, but she refused.
“Police pulled her from her seat by her belt loop, dragged her through the aisle exposed with torn pants, and humiliated her for the world to see in a now viral video,” her lawyers said in a statement.
They added: “She survived sexism, racial profiling, and police brutality that fateful day. Her mistreatment was particularly distressing because she is presently pregnant with her first child.”
In the video other passengers can be heard telling her to get off the plane and to stop resisting the police.
But Daulatzai was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and other misdemeanor offenses.
A police spokesman said: “Despite her clear attempt to resist a law enforcement officer, Ms. Daulatzai was professionally removed from the aircraft within the guidelines of the MDTA police.
“This remains an open case that will be handled in the appropriate venue, not through various media channels.”