A passenger was detained after a flight because a flight attendant said he didn't flush a bathroom toilet.
Salvatore Bevivino, 52, was on a Virgin American flight on April 28, 2012 when he pushed the call button to as for a soda. A male flight attendant told Bevivino that he would have to use the computer touch screen on the back of the seat in front of him, Philly.com reports.
Bevivino asked another flight attendant who was passing by, why they didn't deliver drinks like other airlines. After speaking to a third flight attendant, he was finally given a soda.
However Bevivino ran into trouble when the flight landed at San Francisco International. When he was disembarking, the plan's pilot pulled him aside, saying he was "a person of suspicion."
Bevivino didn't understand why he was detained. He thought his dark Italian skin may have made him look like someone from the Middle East and he was the victim of racial profiling, but then the pilot asked him why had had been yelling obscenities at the crew and said that he didn't flush the toilet.
The next thing he knew, Bevivino was being removed by uniformed police, FBI and TSA agents.
Im a police incident report, one of the flight attendants said that Bevivino went to the bathroom after asking for a drink.
"[He] came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities. [Name redacted] passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet."
The captain told police that he didn't think he or the flight crew felt threatened by the man.
Bevivino told police that he never cursed or left the toilet unflushed. He explained that he was trying to order a drink and was confused by the onboard computer system. He admitted to becoming frustrated when the flight attendants kept ignoring him.
Bevivino was released, but he is suing the airline, claiming that the incident him embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, mental anguish and emotional distress, and damage to his professional reputation. The airline is being accused of violating Bevivino's civil rights due to false imprisonment, discrimination, and denial of equal rights.
The incident was filed in a federal lawsuit which seeks $500,000 in damages.