Arabic man claims he was assaulted on flight to Houston, files lawsuit against United

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 4, 2013, 3:55pm

HOUSTON - Alleging he experienced racial discrimination on a flight to Houston last year, Khaled Ibrahim has filed a lawsuit. 

According to the suit filed Dec. 31 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, UAL Corp., doing business as United Airlines, allegedly mistreated Ibrahim because of his Arabic heritage.

Ibrahim was flying home from Lima, Peru, when the purported discriminatory acts occurred.

The plaintiff asserts that the crew of UAL Flight 855 physically attacked and falsely imprisoned him while the aircraft was en route to George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Jan. 1, 2012, stating several flight attendants "ethnically profiled" him.

Aside from the alleged assault and detention, "unsavory," according to the original petition, racial epithets were directed toward Ibrahim.

"They stated that the plaintiff was 'dangerous' and 'out of control'", the suit says.

"They accused the plaintiff of carrying a bomb that looked like a camera, when in fact it was a camera."

He adds the defendant threatened to divert the plane to Mexico and have authorities apprehend him there.

"Because the defendant treated the plaintiff disparately and differently than the defendant had treated other persons on the flight in question, the defendant intentionally engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices, because the plaintiff was openly of Middle Eastern descent and Arabic," the suit says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Donald T. Cheatham of Houston is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:12CV3768

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