Airport authorities seek to charge assistant professor removed from plane

Thursday, December 22, 2016 - 6:52pm

An assistant professor at the University of Michigan is facing charges after being forcibly removed from a Delta Airlines flight 2083 on Dec. 12, the News-Herald reported earlier Wednesday.

Airport authorities said Rhima Coleman, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, will be arraigned on Jan. 18 in the 34th District Court on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Coleman allegedly walked past a gate agent without presenting her boarding pass, as well as refused to let Delta screeners check her bag. After she seated herself, airport police said they boarded the flight and asked her to disembark. Coleman then began using obscenities and refused to leave the plane.

Airline officials stopped passengers from boarding the flight during the disturbance. Multiple passengers took cellphone videos of the incident, wherein Coleman is shown being dragged down the aisle by her wrists by officers.

Officers said they stopped and asked Coleman multiple times if she could walk without assistance, but she refused and remained on the floor. She was later handcuffed and searched.                       

Police say alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote in an email interview there has been no change in Coleman’s employment status at the University.