Lawsuit: American Airlines wrongly identified Arizona man as burglar; he spent 17 days in jail

The lawsuit claims American Airlines falsely accused him of being a burglar.
The lawsuit claims American Airlines falsely accused him of being a burglar.(Source: American Airlines via MGN)
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 3:20 PM MST
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TARRANT COUNTY, TX (3TV/CBS 5) -- An Arizona man has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming that he spent 17 days in a New Mexico jail after the airline wrongly accused him of a burglary at a Texas airport.

The lawsuit alleges that when police asked the airline to provide information on everyone who boarded that flight, they only gave details on Michael Lowe, who was traveling from Flagstaff to Reno, Nevada, which had a layover in Dallas-Fort Worth.

According to court documents obtained by Arizona’s Family, it happened after a shop inside Dallas-Fort Worth International was burglarized on May 12, 2020. Police used surveillance video to identify the suspect and described the man as tall and thin, white or Hispanic, with a short, military-style haircut. Court paperwork states that police believed the suspect boarded the same American Airlines flight Lowe was on. A couple of weeks later, two arrest warrants were issued for Lowe: one for felony burglary and another for criminal mischief.

Court documents say Lowe was visiting New Mexico on July 4 with friends when someone caused a disturbance in the area. That’s when Lowe gave officers his name and where he allegedly found out he had outstanding warrants from Tarrant County. Lowe claims in the lawsuit that he was confused at the time of the arrest and could “not even remember the last time he was in the state.” Lowe allegedly spent 17 days in unsanitary conditions at the Quay County, New Mexico, jail until he was released when a Dallas-Fort Worth detective compared the photos and said they had arrested the wrong person.

Lowe is suing for civil damages claiming negligence on American Airlines’ part. Arizona’s Family has reached out to American Airlines and we’re waiting to hear back.