A passenger on a Virgin America flight was allegedly detained in Philadelphia after the pilot complained that he didn’t properly flush the onboard toilet.
A Virgin America pilot reportedly argued with 52-year-old Salvatore Bevivino, who was detained by uniformed officers when the flight from San Francisco arrived in Philadelphia on April 28, 2012.
Bevivino is now suing the airline for $500,000. According to his U.S. District Court complaint, he was “taken into custody against his will” and taken to a room where he was questioned. The 6-page complaint seeks damages, including causing him “apprehension, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, fright, shock, mental anguish and emotional distress.”
Flight crew maintained that Bevivino was "using profanities and not listening to instructions from the flight." He allegedly refused to use the touchscreen at his seat to order soda and pushed the call button, instead, to order directly from attendants.
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Afterwards, a flight attendant told police, Bevivino “went to the restroom, came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities.” She then “saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet.”
The captain, noted in the police report, said he and his crew did not believe that Bevivino posed a threat.
In his complaint, Bevivino, a Genetech employee, states that police and federal agency actions as a result of the incident could threaten his employment. He claims Virgin America violated his civil rights by committing false imprisonment, discrimination and denial of equal rights.