US Airways & police vs. Deshon Marman: authorities on a power trip or offensive young man?

The airline says his pants were below his knees. Deshon Marman says only the top of his underwear was showing. Then a detective allegedly lied to him to get him off the plan peacefully and then once off the plane he was violently arrested. All that from this video.

LZ Granderson of ESPN says it has to do with race. That lots of people wear their pants low but that black Americans suffer most for it. It’s a very small sample but this comparison does support the claim:

Besides, in an incident earlier this year, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington got into a verbal spat with another passenger on a United flight. Huffington was removed from the plane after she ignored the flight attendant’s request to turn off all electronic devices, yet she avoided handcuffs. If violation of a Federal Aviation Administration law concerning the safety of the aircraft isn’t enough to get someone arrested, how did saggy pants get Marman in handcuffs?

I tell you how.

He’s big and black and was dressed in a way that many interpret as thuggish, and his reaction to being asked to pull up his pants did little to help matters.

This video looks that way to me. He sounds like a guy who doesn’t want to be arrested while he’s not breaking any laws. He says he has taken care of the problem (pulled up his loose pajama pants). Sounds like the people in authority don’t care – just happy to go on a little power trip.

Another passenger had this to say: The passenger said Marman’s sweatpants sagged to mid-thigh level and revealed skin-tight black underwear.

“When I first saw him coming down the aisle, I was like, ‘Come on man, really?’ ” he said. “But after he sat down, you couldn’t see anything.”

The passenger’s statement conflicts with this CNN report which says Marman refused to pull up his pants. It sure doesn’t look like that to me based on what Marman says in the video and the eyewitness account.

Going back to my title for this post, US Airways & police vs. Deshon Marman: authorities on a power trip or offensive young man?, you can see I’m not entertaining the idea that our student athlete did anything dangerous. He did wear pajamas onto a plane and they were too low. How bad is that? Was the captain right to impose a dress code (US Airways doesn’t have one)?

How does this compare to other cases of people getting kicked off planes but not lied to and then surprise arrested? For example there was the “bye bye plane” baby and the breast feeding mother whose husband wouldn’t hold up a blanket. There’s Cynthia Angel who feared her pilot may have been drinking. There’s the girl who coughed too much. Then there’s Kyla Ebbert who wore a short skirts (but was eventually allowed to fly).

In the end, I think the different treatment Ebbert got compared to what Marmon got lends a lot of weight to the idea that this was a racist incident. The big black guy gets cuffs – despite adjusting his pants – while the pretty white girl is allowed to continue on her way after making an adjustment. Seems like the authorities (flight crew, pilot, and police) see a big black man and have to impose their will on him and break him down – show him who’s boss. At least it seems that way to me. Knowing we may not have all the facts, what do you think about US Airways & police vs. Deshon Marman?

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  1. Sharon says:

    Baggy pants, or saggy pants,is the current fad, which is usually associated with hip hop and street culture, or prison gangs. Young men, regardless of race,have adopted the fad everywhere, along with hoodies and other stuff thinking they look “bad.” In my opinion, showing underwear on a plane or elsewhere is inappropriate; no one wants to see it. I don’t know what was said or what the guy’s attitude was upon leaving the plane to say whether an arrest was justified. I doubt if he was arrested for wearing baggy pants, however. But, there will always be some who will say it was racist. Here’s an amusing video that gained worldwide popularity. http://youtu.be/YSo6o2z7O-g

  2. Rhonda Peterson says:

    Are you black James?

    Sure looks like your trying to say two wrongs make a right.

    Okay, so punishment should be more equal… not avoided. Maybe the airlines do need a dress code. At least one that states what you can’t wear in order to be properly dressed.

  3. James Trotta says:

    Rhonda, I’m just a plain white guy. I didn’t mean that two wrongs make a right. Just that from what I’ve read so far it sounds as if Deshon Marman was treated unfairly.

    Sharon, I guess he was arrested for refusing to get off the plane (initially, he did eventually leave the plane voluntarily).

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have said this seemed racist since there is simply no way to know why the flight crew and pilot decided that now was a good time to go on their little power trip. But it sure seems that if he pulled his pants up after getting rid of his luggage in the overhead, that this was an extreme overreaction.

  4. Sharon says:

    In any event, until and unless there is a dress code or other airline rules, the flight crew and the pilot do have the option to ask people to leave the plane. As far as the police, there had to be more to the story leading to the guy’s arrest, even an attitude may justify their doing so. They can and do exercise their authority, whether we agree with it or not. As a passenger, I would find it offensive, but just ignore it.

  5. Joe says:

    Pull your pants up cause no one wants to see any of that. Wear a skirt that is not revealing when you try to sit down. The eyewitness to the Deshon event did not say he pulled his pants up but rather he said you couldn’t see anything when he sat down.. what’s the purpose of wearing you pants down around your knees anyway?

  6. Donna says:

    The man in that video was NOT being belligerent or violent or threatening in any way. The flight crew, and the police, overreacted big time. And the fact that white people are not treated the same in similar situations doesn’t leave me any recourse but to conclude that yes, race was a factor in his treatment.

  7. Sharon says:

    I don’t think we can conclude anything based on just the video. The fact that he was handcuffed leads me to believe that he either resisted arrest, had an outstanding warrant,or something else – anything is possible. It may or may not have had anything to do with race – we just don’t know.

  8. Terrell says:

    James, you do not need to ammend or retract your statement. What you said makes pretty good sense to me. I’ll be the first to say that no one wants to see another persons underwear and I do not allow my two son’s, 23 yrs. and 35 yrs. old, to wear their pants in that fashion. But this situation seems mighty strange to me. This young man did not appear to be disruptive or threatening to anyone. And of course he WAS treated differently than the white female who wore the short dress. The situation with the young white girl and the short dress was STUPID as well. That was one person’s opinion that went too far. This situation went way too far.

  9. Donna says:

    Sharon, do you honestly believe that EVERY black man in America who finds himself in handcuffs actually did something to deserve that treatment? If so, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  10. Sharon says:

    Donna, Did I say every black man, or even specify a race…re-read what I said. I said he may have been handcuffed for another reason, anything is possible, which could apply to white, black, yellow, brown, or red. So, you may keep your bridge and your attempt to turn my words around. In this situation, the guy happened to be black, so you automatically jumped on the issue and made assumptions. You know what they say about assuming anything…

  11. lgreen says:

    The issue is not race but a passenger’s refusal to take reasonable direction from a flight attendant. Flying is not a right; it’s a privilege. The safety and welfare of the other passengers supersedes any individual’s desire to substitute his personal judgment for the judgment of the airlines. The fact that he eventually was going to relent, when he realized the airline meant business, is irrelevant. By refusing to immediately follow the directive of a flight attendant, he gave up his seat. This was the beginning of the flight. It’s reasonable for the airline to assume that someone who refuses one directive might well refuse to cooperate in other ways on the rest of the flight.

  12. DHarri says:

    The airline enforced their policy which in this situation aligned with the airlines definition of something being offensive or indecent. When your in their house you play by their rules, he should have just pulled his pants up and appeased the flight attendant. I applaud the airlines for not lowering their standards which is what’s happening in so many other segments in America. I would also add that this could have been a white guy with sagging pants which by all rights would get the one chance to correct his clothing to adhere to the airline’s policies. When your in a court house and for example refuse to remove your hat, you are removed, again your in their house play by the rules and save yourself a lot of headaches no matter how you personally feel about it.

  13. Sharon says:

    I agree with lgreen. If the airline tells passengers to fasten their seatbelts, they do so. If the airline asks a passenger to give up their seat and leave the plane, the passenger must do so. Airlines must be in control of the passengers on their plane. If the police arrest a person, the person has no choice but to comply. If the person feels unfairly treated and their “rights” have been violated, then it is a matter to take up with the courts at a later date.

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