Bloke suing airline after being wrongly jailed for 17 ‘excruciating’ days

A man is suing an airline after claiming he was left to live "in a constant state of fear" when he was wrongly jailed for 17 days after jetting off on holiday.

Michel Lowe endured an "unending nightmare" inside a New Mexico prison after American Airlines falsely identified him as a burglary suspect during the flight layover in Dallas.

According to the lawsuit, Lowe was flying from Flagstaff, Arizona, when a burglary took place at a duty free store in one of the Dallas terminals on May 12, 2020.

Cops were able to identify the suspect on Lowe's plane which was flying to Reno, Nevada, after the airline reportedly handed police his name.

Airport police obtained a search warrant which ordered "American Airlines to produce any and all recorded travel data" for the travellers.

It was reported that the affidavit from authorities "described the suspect as a tall and thin, White or Hispanic male with a short military style haircut, black polo shirt and blue jeans."

However, the lawsuit alleges that the airline "departed from its established procedures" and failed to give cops all of the passengers' names.

The lawsuit said the move "involved an extreme degree of risk," reports CBS News.

It added: "This is especially true considering that it knew that if it provided the name of a single individual in response to the search warrant instead of turning over the entire flight manifest as ordered, it was highly likely that that individual would be arrested and imprisoned."

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Following the decision, it was reported that felony and misdemeanour arrest warrants were issued for Lowe, which saw him arrested over a year later while he was on holiday in New Mexico on July 4, 2021.

According to the lawsuit, Lowe was left to suffer behind bars among prisoners with a "palpable sense of menace" and struggled to sleep after watching a young inmate repeatedly get punched in the face.

He was released after being jailed for over two weeks, and once he returned home, he "allowed himself to sob until he could no longer stand."

Despite the charges being dismissed, the experience had a lasting effect and has "shaken his identity to the core and cast a pall over his view of the world."

The airline has been hit with a series of negligence allegations in the lawsuit, reports CBS News.

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It said: "American Airlines should have provided its entire flight manifest as ordered by the warrant or a list of all individuals who matched a certain description (ex: all white males over 18 and under 65).

"American Airlines also could have performed an adequate search to identify the correct suspect and provide his information to law enforcement.

"Instead, American Airlines, conducted its own negligent investigation, and wrongfully identified Mr. Lowe as the single suspect of the DFW Airport PD felony investigation which foreseeably led to Mr. Lowe being arrested and imprisoned for a crime for which he was innocent."

American Airlines told CBS News it is reviewing the lawsuit.

The Daily Star has contacted the airline for comment.

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