U of A associate professor claims pilot assaulted him because of his race

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A University of Arkansas associate professor claims a Delta Air Lines pilot assaulted him because of his race at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

After a two hour flight from Atlanta to Bentonville, Khaled Beydoun took to Twitter after he claimed a Delta pilot put his hands on him.

“This really shows we are all open to this type of treatment,” Beydoun’s attorney Abed Ayoub said. 

Through a series of tweets, Beydoun said, “the captain grabbed me by my neck and told me to come here in front of other passengers.”

He went on to post, “if I were a white male, I don’t think the captain would’ve engaged me with that kind of disregard and disrespect.”

“The pilot yelled at Khaled and said, ‘hey come over here,’ pointed at him aggressively and grabbed him by the collar and pushed him,” Ayoub said. “That’s when it escalated.”

But according to Delta Air Lines, this story begins before takeoff.

The airline bumped Beydoun to first class. 

But prior to departure, a flight attendant’s jump seat wasn’t working. 

According to protocol, the flight attendant then must sit in seat 1-C  —  the seat Beydoun was upgraded to. 

Beydoun was asked to move to seat 5 B —  located in the Delta Comfort Plus Section.

Delta released this statement saying: “We regret that the customer perceived the seat change as anything but procedural. Delta apologized to the customer for the seat change and provided a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience.”

After the plane landed at XNA, Beydoun requested to speak to the pilot on the jet bridge.

The pilot then requested a customer service agent and XNA police once the passenger claimed the pilot grabbed his jacket and pulled him close. 

According to a police report, the pilot said he never put his hands on Beydoun and said, “Beydoun was playing the race card.”

But Beydoun and his attorney are sticking to their story.

“He doesn’t have an incentive to make up a story like this,” Ayoub said. “He does have good credibility and we believe this happened despite what the airline and the pilot said.”

There is an open investigation, but no charges or lawsuits have been filed at the time 

We have requested body cam footage from XNA police.

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Aaron Nolan

Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.