Arizona man suing American Airlines after he spent 17 days in jail over theft allegation
An Arizona man is suing American Airlines after he says he spent 17 days in a New Mexico jail claiming the airline wrongly provided his name over a theft.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Tarrant County District Court and obtained by USA TODAY, says Lowe boarded a flight to Reno, Nevada, at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in May 2020.
But before the flight, a duty-free shop in the airport was burglarized, according to the lawsuit.
After the airport's police obtained a search warrant ordering the airline to send over travel data for the individuals who boarded the flight to Reno, the airline allegedly only sent Lowe's information, according to the lawsuit first reported by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
More than a year after his flight, Lowe was visiting friends in Tucumcari, New Mexico, according to the lawsuit. At a Fourth of July gathering, police were asking attendees to provide their information after a disturbance. When officials took Lowe’s information, they saw two outstanding warrants from Tarrant County, Texas, for the man, which he says he was not aware of before he was arrested.
Lowe was taken to a detention center in Quay County, New Mexico. The lawsuit said Lowe was worried about catching COVID-19 in the facility and in a "constant state of fear of confrontation or abuse."
After eight days, Lowe said he was taken to a judge who "provided no
clarification regarding his arrest." On the seventeenth day of being in jail, he says he was released, and sent out of the facility with no additional information.
It took Lowe two days to return to his home in Flagstaff, Arizona. After calling authorities in Tarrant County and the airport police department, he found out he had missed a court appearance and that American Airlines provided information to law enforcement officials.
Police compared Lowe’s mug shot with surveillance footage of the burglary, and officials later dismissed the charges against Lowe.
Lowe in the lawsuit said he has suffered emotional and psychological tolls because of the experience, as well as financial hardship in his job as a professional outdoorsman and guide.
The lawsuit accuses American Airlines of broad negligence for allegedly identifying Lowe to authorities.
American Airlines said in a statement to USA TODAY it is "reviewing the matter."
This article originally appeared on USA Today