Ryanair faces boycotts in wake of shocking racist attack on board
The man videotaped hurling racist abuse at a fellow passenger on a recent Ryanair flight has been identified.
On Tuesday, Essex Police in the UK said, "We have worked to identify both parties involved in this incident and passed the information to the Spanish authorities who are leading on this investigation.”
"Our officers will continue to provide assistance where necessary throughout the course of this case."
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The incident, which was captured on video by passenger David Lawrence, occurred on October 19 on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to London Stansted.
In the video, a man can be seen spewing racist abuse at Delsie Gayle, 77, after she had difficulty standing to allow the man to pass to his seat.
In the disturbing footage, the man calls Gayle an “ugly black bastard” and shouts, “Don’t speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow.”
Gayle’s seat was later moved at her request to one closer to her daughter who was accompanying her.
On Sunday, Ryanair said in a statement that they referred the incident to Essex Police in the UK, despite the incident having occurred while still on the tarmac in Spain.
Now, Essex Police have referred the incident back to Spanish police.
Karl Turner, shadow minister for transport in the UK, said: “Ryanair failed spectacularly, not least because they removed the victim and allowed the alleged offender to remain in his seat, but because they didn’t deplane him and hand him over to the Spanish authorities there is now a legal jurisdiction issue.”
“He could well be prosecuted by the Spanish authorities,” said Turner, “but it is unlikely. Why? Because the offender would have to hand himself in or alternatively Spanish apply under EU Arrest Warrant. “
“Under the EU arrest warrant, the offense needs to be criminal in Spain – it is – and the punishment on conviction must be 12 months or more. I’m not an expert on Spanish criminal law, so I’m not sure about sentencing laws there.”
Many are now calling for a boycott of Ryanair as the Irish airline is accused of having not done enough.
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David Lawrence, who captured the racist incident on video, shared his thoughts on Facebook, and slammed Ryanair for not doing enough:
THIS IS THE Ryanair passenger that was ALLOWED to racially and physically abuse an elderly woman and then WALK AWAY...Posted by David Lawrence on Friday, October 19, 2018
He refused to sit next to the woman because she was black, Ryanair are accountable for the protection of their customers and they FAILED!Posted by David Lawrence on Saturday, October 20, 2018
An online petition is now circulating to get Ryanair to formally apologize and compensate Delsie Gayle.
Speaking with ITV after the incident, Gayle said “I feel really depressed about it. I go to my bed and say, ‘What have I done?' I haven’t done anything (for him) to attack me because of the color of my skin.”
Gayle's daughter, who was with her on the flight, said it would have been very different if it were a black woman abusing a white man.