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A now-viral video shows Portugal police officers forcefully dragging a passenger and putting him in a chokehold on a Ryanair flight.
A Twitter user named Islam shared the clip on Wednesday, claiming the incident took place on a Ryanair flight in Portugal. The presence of the officers suggests the plane was grounded.
“My boy was racially profiled and attacked on our flight on our way home,” Islam wrote in the tweet, accompanied by the video. “There was a free seat next to me but the air hostess refused to let him sit there and accused him of punching her when the whole plane has his side.”
I can’t believe my eyes right now, my boy was racially profiled and attacked on our flight on our way home ; there was a free seat next to me but the air hostess refused to let him sit there and accused him of punching her when the whole plane has his side. @Ryanair #justice pic.twitter.com/uaI9L3bn9z— Islam (@Islam768) August 7, 2019
In the video, at least three officers can be seen trying to drag the passenger out of his seat. One of the officers puts him in a brief chokehold.
“You’re breaking my neck,” the passenger yells at one of the officers. “You’re hurting my neck!”
The person filming the incident urges the man, named Rafik, to stop resisting the officers.
“Rafik, let them take you off the plane … let them take you off the plane,” the person says.
Meanwhile, many other passengers can be seen and heard defending the passenger. “You’re hurting him,” one yells.
A second video–shared by someone of the same name as the passenger–shows the incident from a different angle. In it, the man refutes the claim that he pushed someone. “I didn’t push! Did I push? … You are lying, I didn’t push,” he says.
A woman, along with other passengers can be heard backing him up. “He did not touch them,” the woman can be heard saying. “No,” the others say.
“To think that what just happened to us is still happening in 2019 is DISGUSTING. This is not the first time @Ryanair have messed up. Please help me boycott them and sort this out. #justice,” Rafik wrote on Twitter.
To think that what just happened to us is still happening in 2019 is DISGUSTING. This is not the first time @Ryanair have messed up. Please help me boycott them and sort this out. #justice pic.twitter.com/o5IV9gQXoA— rafik (@rafik19442685) August 7, 2019
According to a follow-up tweet from Islam, Ryanair employees closed the desk shutter when they approached it, seeking help.
“His bag is literally ripped and he is injured,” Islam later wrote.
Many on Twitter shared their anger in solidarity with the passengers, with some pointing out the lack of action exhibited by fellow white passengers, as the protests were largely drawn from passengers of color.
I swear white people only get involved when it’s their own, and it’s never their own so they’re sat comfy. It’s all entertainment for them😡— 🌜Sway🌛 (@madaxxanuun) August 7, 2019
I love how the only people coming to his defense are people of color, while the white people just sit there watching, or ignoring what’s going on.— Mimi Abu-Mallouh (@MimiAbuMallouh) August 7, 2019
Interesting how those who came to the defence of the brother was ethnic people. All the white folks sit down and mind their business because that is what they are told to do. Whereas we are told to stand up against injustice wherever it is. @Ryanair is a disgusting company. 🤮🤮— Mohamed (@MHus66) August 7, 2019
The Daily Dot has reached out to Islam and Ryanair.
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Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque