Denver prosecutors have requested the dismissal of a case against actor and comedian Marlon Wayans, following a luggage dispute with an airline employee. Wayans, who is Black, accused the employee of racial discrimination. The city attorney’s office made the request after Wayans himself asked for the case to be dropped, claiming that prosecutors were perpetuating the discrimination he faced. Assistant City Attorney Katie Conner did not provide a direct explanation for the dismissal request but suggested that evidence presented by Wayans’ lawyers regarding white passengers violating the airline’s luggage limit played a role.
One of Wayans’ lawyers, David M. Beller, confirmed that the request for dismissal has been granted and commended the city’s decision. The city attorney’s office spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Wayans was initially cited for disturbing the peace in June after a United Airlines gate agent prevented him from boarding a flight to Kansas City with three bags. Despite consolidating his luggage into two bags, the gate agent attempted to physically block Wayans from boarding. Wayans eventually boarded the flight but was later asked to disembark before departure. According to Wayans’ motion to dismiss, the gate agent allowed white passengers with three bags to board while he was rearranging his luggage.
Approximately 140 people boarded the flight, many of whom had three bags or oversized bags that violated the airline’s policy. Statements recorded on police body cameras indicated that the gate agent accused Wayans of shoving, pushing, or elbowing him during boarding, which Wayans’ lawyers disputed. They argued that Wayans may have brushed shoulders with the agent while boarding. In the motion to dismiss, Conner stated that Wayans “brushed past” the gate agent.
The police officers who investigated the incident expressed doubts about any criminal behavior, but the gate agent insisted on pursuing charges. After reviewing the evidence gathered by Wayans’ lawyers and meeting with the gate agent, Conner determined that it was not in the interest of justice to proceed with the case.