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RDU passenger says she was humiliated for 'flying while fat and black'

In this file photo from 2016, an EVA Air Cargo 747 lands over American Airlines planes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. An African American woman said she felt humiliated after American Airlines called police on her because a white passenger complained about her arm touching hers on a Raleigh-Durham flight last week.
In this file photo from 2016, an EVA Air Cargo 747 lands over American Airlines planes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. An African American woman said she felt humiliated after American Airlines called police on her because a white passenger complained about her arm touching hers on a Raleigh-Durham flight last week. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

An African American woman said she felt humiliated after American Airlines called police on her because a white passenger complained about her arm touching hers on a Raleigh-Durham flight last week.

"The cops were called on me for flying while fat & Black,” Amber Phillips said in a series of tweets that were first reported by The Washington Post.

The incident happened on a flight to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., Phillips said.

“Flight attendant called the cops on me bc I made the white woman sitting next to me uncomfortable bc my arm was touching hers,” Phillips tweeted.

Phillips is a digital media strategist and co-host of the podcast, according to her Twitter account. She lives in Washington, D.C.

According to Phillips' tweets, the other passenger "literally spent the entire 45 minute flight making an active scene bc my arm was touching hers. Loudly asking if I could ‘move over’ on a plane so small everyone's carry-on bags had to be valeted. It was awful!”

Phillips tweeted that she and the other woman ended up on the same shuttle, where the woman “LIED that I assaulted her and the @AmericanAir flight attendant called the cops to remove me from the shuttle bus.”

Police arrived and "aggressively" ordered her off the shuttle, but no arrests were made, Phillips tweeted.

American Airlines had “an obligation” to call the police, an airline spokeswoman told The Post, because it was at the request of another passenger on the flight.

Still, the incident didn't sit well with Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. She reacted with outrage in retweeting one of Phillips’ tweets.

“I am so sick of this insanity,” Rice tweeted. "... Just living peacefully as a self-respecting African American in this country is increasingly impossible.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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