A month after being detain while returning to the U.S., the son of “The Greatest” was detained again before boarding a domestic flight in Washington, D.C.
By Marissa Payne and Des Bieler / The Washington Post
March 10, 2017
“We must step into the ring and fight this thing and keep fighting it until it’s done.”
— Khalilah Camacho-Ali, wife of the late Muhammad Ali
A month after Muhammad Ali’s son and his mother, Ali’s second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were detained in a Florida airport allegedly for their “Arabic-sounding names,” he says he was held up again, this time at Reagan National Airport on Friday. He and his mother had come to Washington to lobby to end racial profiling, and he was trying to board a flight back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A lawyer for Ali, Chris Mancini, said that as the son of the former heavyweight champion was trying to board a Jet Blue flight, he was detained by Department of Homeland Security officials for about 20 to 25 minutes. According to comments Mancini made to the New York Daily News, they rejected his identification and repeatedly asked where he was from, before allowing the 44-year-old to board after he produced his U.S. passport.
“None of this was happening Wednesday,” Mancini said of the Alis’ trip to D.C. in remarks to the Associated Press. “Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS.”
The lawyer told the Daily News that “quite obviously” his client has “now been put on a different status,” possibly a watch list, that affects his ability to travel without being questioned.
“Upon arriving at the airline check-in counter, a call was made to confirm Mr. Ali’s identity with TSA officials. When Mr. Ali arrived at the checkpoint, his large jewelry alarmed the checkpoint scanner,” the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement Friday. “He received a targeted pat-down in the area of his jewelry to clear the alarm and was cleared to catch his flight.”
As it happened, Ali was sharing a flight with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), whose congressional district lies just south of Fort Lauderdale. She tweeted out a photo of the two of them and wrote, “Religiously profiling son of ‘The Greatest’ will not make us safe.”