| SAO PAULO – The Court of Justice upheld a 2004 judgment against an American Airlines pilot who made an obscene gesture to a group of Federal Police. The pilot, Dale Robbin Hersh flipped off seven PF agents after landing at Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo.
The agents were working the arrivals area at the airport on January 13th, 2004, when, they claim, they were offended when the pilot displayed his middle finger in their direction after being asked to submit to fingerprinting and photographic identification.
At the time, citizens of the United States were being singled out for these extra procedures in reciprocity for like treatment of Brazilians entering the United States. The practice was discontinued in Brazil a few months later when the U.S. started fingerprinting and photographing all foreigners entering the U.S. rather than just those from countries, such as Brazil, who are required to have a visa to enter.
The day the pilot was arrested, he was taken to a holding cell where he remained until American Airlines paid a U.S. $18,000 fine. The pilot was then immediately deported. The airline also issued an apology to the government of Brazil and to the Federal Police. The matter didn’t end then and there, however.
A court later ordered the company to pay each of the offended PF agents U.S. $100,000 in compensation for the personal affront. The court yesterday, responding to an appeal, reduced the judgment to U.S. $30,000 for each agent.