Woman questioned by police for 'flying while fat and black'

Amber Phillips, 28, was on board when the white woman sitting next to her made an "active scene" for 45 minutes and complained to flight attendants because their arms were touching.
Amber Phillips, 28, was on board when the white woman sitting next to her made an "active scene" for 45 minutes and complained to flight attendants because their arms were touching. Photo credit: Amber J Phillips/Twitter

A black woman has been questioned by police after her arm touched another's passenger during an American Airlines flight.

Amber Phillips, 28, was on board the Washington DC-bound flight on Friday (local time) when the white woman sitting next to her made an "active scene" for 45 minutes and complained to flight attendants because their arms were touching.

"This white woman literally spent the entire 45 minute flight loudly asking if I could 'move over' on a plane so small everyone's carry on bags had to be valeted. It was awful!" Ms Phillips tweeted.

When the plane landed, Ms Phillips took photos and a short video of the white woman in order to document her "outrageous behaviour".

As the passengers disembarked onto the tarmac and waited for a shuttle, police approached Ms Phillips.

The woman seated next to Ms Phillips claimed she had assaulted her, and flight attendants had called police to meet them at the shuttle.

Ms Phillips said the officer didn't ask for her side of the story, but demanded to see her ID.

"As I was looking for my ID, I asked if he asked for the other woman's ID. He aggressively responded to me by saying 'I'm not dealing with your abuse! Give me your ID!' I handed him my passport and he yanked it out of my hand," she wrote on Twitter.

"I then asked, 'Would you like to know what happened?' Aggressive again he said 'NO! I'm investigating this as an assault!' I very calmly said 'Wow, ok.' I backed up and made sure my hands were visible."

"The cop told me that they were required to speak with the white woman from the plane first because she was the 'victim,' despite the fact no crimes were committed."

Ms Phillips said she was never asked to give a statement and was eventually allowed to leave on the shuttle with the other passengers.

"The cops were called on me for flying while fat and black," she wrote.

This makes reference to the phrase Driving While Black, which addresses the racial profiling of African American drivers.

"American Airlines ain't nothing but public transportation in the sky! I'm an average sized woman. 67% of women in this country are my size. How dare you!"

American Airlines responded to one of Ms Phillips' tweets asking her to message them with further details.

"We want to make the world a smaller, more inclusive place. Please meet us in DM with more info and your contact info."

This comes just two weeks after two black men were wrongfully arrested after sitting in a Starbucks. 

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