KQED reporter Mina Kim today spoke with San Mateo County Chief Deputy DA Stephen Wagstaffe about the DeShon Marman case. Marman, a graduate of Lincoln High in San Francisco, is the 20-year-old college football player who was removed from a US Airways flight at SFO because he allegedly ignored an airline employee's request to pull up sweatpants hanging low enough to expose his underwear.
Chief Deputy DA Wagstaffe explained that Marman has not yet been charged with any crime and that prosecutors will be reviewing the case between now and the July 18 arraignment. He said his office had asked for additional accounts of the incident from airline personnel and passengers.
Police took Marman into custody on suspicion of three crimes: battery on a police officer, a felony, and resisting arrest and trespassing, both misdemeanors. He faces up to four years in state prison on the battery charge, and one year and six months, respectively, in a county jail for resisting arrest and trespassing.
Wagstaffe said he had seen cases arising from confrontations at security checkpoints, but couldn't remember ever prosecuting one stemming from a problem on the plane itself.
Interestingly enough, at the end of the interview, the chief deputy DA volunteered the following:
"We're not deciding how somebody wears their clothing is a crime. Because it's not. What we're deciding is whether or not there was an interaction that occurred (where) there was conduct by Mr. Marman that violated the laws in his dealing with the police and with the personnel there. That's what we're looking at. This has nothing to do with whether it's inappropriate for somebody to wear their clothing in a certain way. That's not of interest to us."
Mina Kim also spoke to Andrew Christie, a spokesman for U.S. Airways, about the incident. Here's an edited transcript:
Is it a policy of U.S. Airways to remove people from planes for wearing pants that expose their underwear?
(In) this particular incident, the individual was removed from the aircraft after repeatedly ignoring crewmember instructions.
What was the safety concern related to his attire?
The safety concern was repeatedly ignoring the crew members' instructions.
How does that become a safety issue?
The safety of all our passengers and employees is our top priority and it's important to adhere to crewmember instuctions, which is paramount in ensuring a safe and comfortable traveling environment.
Regardless of the content of the instruction, you mean?
There's been some question about your policy, whether it is an explicit policy about attire?
US Airways does not have a specific dress code. But we do ask our customers to dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our passengers.
Where is that written?
We don't have a specific dress code.
When you say you ask passengers, where is that ask made?
I'll have to find that out for you and let you know.