The president of North Carolina’s NAACP Rev. William Barber finds it troubling that he still has to deal with this kind of racism and discrimination. Barber , who is the the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C. filed a lawsuit Wednesday against American Airlines accusing the company of kicking him off a flight in April because he was black, reports ABC News.
The Washington Post reports that the alleged incident took place April 15, when Barber was on a flight returning to Raleigh, NC.
“All I wanted to do was sleep. All I wanted to do was get on that plane, lay my head against the seat,” he said Wednesday.
But according to the lawsuit, Barber was seated in front of a pair of loud and unruly white men who appeared to be intoxicated. A flight attendant only reluctantly responded to his request that they be asked to keep their voices down, Barber alleges, and singled him out as the complaining passenger. The two men, he said, then became even more belligerent, cursing at Barber. One allegedly told the other that “he did not like ‘those people,’ and that ‘those people’ made him sick.”
Barber said he asked a flight attendant to ask two white passengers who were talking loudly in the row behind him to quiet down. The white passenger responded that he had a problem with “those people” and made fun of Barber for purchasing two seats, according to the lawsuit.
Barber alleges in the lawsuit that the confrontation had dissipated when police officers boarded the plane and had him removed at American’s request. The white passenger was allowed to remain on board.
According to the lawsuit, a black American employee who rebooked Barber on a flight the next day told Barber that “this tends to happen a lot” and expressed frustration with the airline.
The airline declined comment Thursday, citing the ongoing litigation, but said it does not tolerate discrimination.
The Rev. William Barber electrified the 2016 Democratic National Convention crowd with his sermon-like speech (see below),