University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman plans to sue US Airways after the flight crew chucked him off the plane for wearing sagging pajama pants, an incident that sparked allegations of racial profiling, his attorney said Wednesday.
The decision to pursue a lawsuit follows the announcement by the San Mateo County District Attorney Wednesday that Marman will not face charges on suspicion of resisting arrest and injuring a cop during the June 15 incident.
“We do not believe that criminal charges are warranted in light of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident,” DA Steve Wagstaffe said in a statement.
Attorney Joe O’Sullivan told The San Francisco Examiner the airline has not apologized for the dispute and has yet to reimburse Marman for the $500 flight he missed on June 15.
Marman, 20, a San Francisco native, has faced “a great deal of adversity” and public embarrassment that could have been avoided had US Airways attempted to resolve the dispute, O’Sullivan said.
US Airways shot back Wednesday saying the situation would have been resolved more quickly had Marman handled himself differently.
Marman was arrested on charges of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing after a member of the flight crew at San Francisco International Airport asked him to pull up his pajama pants.
According to O’Sullivan, Marman told the fight attendant his hands were full and he would take care of it when he got to his seat on the Albuquerque, N.M.-bound flight.
When he sat down, police said the flight captain argued with Marman for 10 minutes about the pants and told him to leave the plane. When Marman was arrested, he allegedly scuffled with San Francisco police officers.
Marman’s supporters allege he was targeted because he is a young black man. They said US Airways had no qualms with allowing one of its passengers, a transgender white man, to travel wearing purple lingerie.
O’Sullivan said his client is “elated” with the DA's decision not to press charges. The attorney said his client has no beef with San Francisco cops.
“I think it singles US Airways out as a villain,” O’Sullivan said.
US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said the airline hopes the DA’s decision “helps Mr. Marman and his family move past this incident.”
However, he added that Marman “could have resolved the situation more quickly.”
He said the airline stands behind the flight crew’s actions.
“The crew acted professionally in dealing with this important situation,” Christie said.
Marman's neice, Sheila Burton, said Wednesday her nephew was calm and composed on the plane.
"Barack Obama couldn't have been more composed than my nephew was," Burton said. "He did not pose a threat to anybody. For God's sake, he had just buried his best friend."
Marman had been flying back to New Mexico after attending the funeral for David Henderson, the former Lincoln High school football star who was shot dead in the Bayview a month earlier.
On Tuesday, outrage erupted on the steps of City Hall as nearly 200 people charged US Airways with racism.
“You say you want the pants pulled up,” the Rev. Amos Brown said from the podium. “We say, pull up justice in America.”
Donna Doyle, Marman’s mother, said she was contacted by US Airways and offered a free flight to see her son, but she declined. Doyle said she was offended that the company did not apologize.
Christie said Tuesday the airline was in open communication with Brown and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People regarding the case.
Examiner Staff Writer Dan Schreiber contributed to this report.