Just one day after Muhammad Ali Jr. spoke with members of Congress about being detained at a Florida airport in February, the son of heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, was stopped again.
This time, he was at Reagan National Airport, The New York Times reports.
When Ali Jr. arrived in Washington on Friday for a flight to Florida, he presented authorities with his Illinois ID to obtain his boarding pass. His lawyer, Chris Mancini, was traveling with him at the time. He said that almost immediately after presenting the Jet Blue agent with his ID, Ali was told there was a problem and that the agent needed to contact the Department of Homeland Security.
Ali, 44, was asked to provide his date of birth, where he was born and his social security number, Mancini said. After giving officials the requested information, Ali was then reportedly told that his state-issued ID was invalid for flying.
“The same state ID from Illinois that he traveled to Washington on was rejected,” Mancini said in an interview on Friday night. Ali then produced his U.S. passport, which was accepted.
Mancini said the ordeal lasted about 20-25 minutes.
“This whole thing smacks of some sort of retaliation for his testimony,” he said.
In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration disputed the time of the holdup at the ticket counter and said that Ali’s jewelry was the reason for what they said was a 7-minute delay.
“Upon arriving at the airline check-in counter, a call was made to confirm Mr. Ali’s identity with T.S.A. officials,” the agency said. “When Mr. Ali arrived at the checkpoint, his large jewelry alarmed the checkpoint scanner. He received a targeted pat-down in the area of his jewelry to clear the alarm and was cleared to catch his flight.”
What prompted the additional scrutiny of Ali’s identification was not addressed by the administration.
“They are making up stories,” Mancini said. “We have never said anything about anything happening after he left the ticket counter.”