Blind Interpreter Dragged Off U.S. Airways Flight And Detained
Nicola Cantisani, 61, of Brussels, Belgium found out last month what happens when you question why your U.S. Airways flight is delayed two hours...you are dragged off the plane, detained and charged with a crime.
According to Cantisani:
He and his wife boarded a U.S. Airways flight in Philadelphia. The plane was bound for Belgium. After a time,it was announced that the plane would be delayed. No explanation was given. The passengers were told to stay in their seats, to not use their cell phones and flight attendant service was not available.
Cantisani said he stood up to request a glass of water and to speak with the crew or captain about the delay, but was told to sit down. He did get to speak with the captain, who told him the plane was having mechanical problems. He then returned to his seat.
So far so good...
Then another passenger made a remark about the crew (what kind of remark?) and three Philadelphia Police Officers appeared and removed the man. Soon afterwards, police tried to remove Cantisani. He resisted.(Uh oh, not smart)
Cantisani said the police yanked him from his seat and dragged him off the plane, injuring his hand, which was gripping his seat belt . Then they forced him into a wheelchair. One officer held him by his throat. He lost his retractable cane during the struggle and says that an officer told him he failed the "blind test" and they didn't believer he was really blind.
Cantisani claimed he was held in police custody at the airport from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. without food, water or access to his phone or outside communication.His wife, who had followed him off the plane, said she "was asking a lot of questions" but got no explanation.After speaking with the officers, Cantisani - who translates several languages for international conferences - said he was asked how much English he spoke and was questioned by a psychiatrist. Around 3 AM he was taken to the 18th police district and held until the next evening.
The Authorities say:
The police were called to Gate A-19 because of a disorderly passenger.
"A passenger had become irate over the delay."
A U.S. Airways representative said Cantisani was an unruly passenger who had refused to exit the plane.
A spokesman said he knew of no "blind test" administered by police.
Cantisani, who is now back in Belgium, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He has no plans to return to the U.S. and a lawyer will represent him in court.
Hmmm...While we realize blind people can be as rude and unruly as those who are not blind, we sniff a little overreaction by Philadelphia's finest.
And we are still looking for "the blind test" on Google.
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