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story.lead_photo.caption The terminal and front entrance is visible at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in this file photo. - Photo by David Gottschalk

A University of Arkansas law professor wrote on Twitter that he was “assaulted” and “disrespected” by a flight captain on Sunday, prompting thousands of responses on the social media site.

Khaled Beydoun, who teaches constitutional law at the Fayetteville campus, wrote in a series of tweets that while getting off a Delta connection at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, he stopped to make a complaint to the captain. Beydoun wrote that the captain grabbed him by his neck and shoved him up the jetway.

The tweet received over 5,600 retweets and over 9,200 likes by Tuesday morning. Beydoun declined to answer a reporter's questions on Monday.

A report by airport police said the captain and Beydoun each said the initial complaint was about Beydoun being asked to give up his seat on a flight that landed at the airport in Bentonville.

A jump seat used by flight attendants was reportedly broken, and flight staff notified Beydoun he would have to move from his seat to another so the flight attendant could use his original seat. Beydoun wrote on Twitter that he was moved to a “horrible seat where I had to lean into the aisle the whole time.”

Michael R. Thomas, a spokesman for Delta, said in a statement that the reseating was required by Endeavor, the company that operated the plane, and its standard operating procedures.

"We regret that the customer perceived the seat change was anything but procedural," he said.

The captain told police that he motioned for Beydoun to talk with him farther up the jet bridge after the flight, but that he did not touch the man, according to the report.

The report states that Beydoun told authorities that the captain grabbed him by his jacket. In the tweets, the professor wrote that the captain "grabbed me by my neck and told me to 'come here.'"

Officers reportedly asked Beydoun whether he wanted to press assault charges against Hovelsrud, but the professor declined, saying he just wanted the encounter documented.

The captain called for police to come to the gate in response to "false allegations of physical contact," Thomas said.

"We take any such allegations seriously and Delta is in contact with the customer," he added

Beydoun, who said in one of the tweets that he identifies himself as Arab and Muslim, wrote that the episode may have been the result of his religion or race.

“If I were a white male, I don’t think the captain would’ve engaged me with that kind of disregard and disrespect,” he wrote. “Much less put his hands on me. What sort of professional finds it OK to tell another grown man ‘Come over here’ and puts his hands on him?”

The police report states the captain dismissed Beydoun’s complaint about the seat move as playing “the race card.”

Thomas declined to say whether any actions would be taken regarding the captain or the airline's policies, citing the incident as an "internal matter" under review.

Print Headline: In tweets, Arkansas law professor says complaint to plane's captain met with push, 'disregard and disrespect'

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