VIDEO: Passenger attacks Southwest Airlines employee after being escorted off flight

A man from Henderson, Nevada, has been arrested for attacking an employee at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Source: WGCL)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 1:44 PM PDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WGCL/Gray News) - An airline passenger became the latest unruly traveler arrested and charged after reportedly not complying with flight attendants’ instructions.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta Police Department reports officers responded to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to meet a Southwest Airlines employee who said he was assaulted by a passenger escorted off a flight.

WGCL reports passenger Courney Donta Drummond refused to comply with flight attendants after his flight left the gate while it was heading to the tarmac. Because of his behavior, the pilot turned the plane around and went back to the gate.

Drummond was then escorted off the plane, and he threatened a Southwest Airlines employee several times before ultimately assaulting him, according to police. A video of the incident has since gone viral on social media.

Atlanta police said Drummond was taken to Clayton County Jail and charged with simple battery and battery and obstruction.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers released the following statement after Tuesday’s incident:

“The IAM is appalled and outraged by the violent assault on an airline employee in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While the airline employee who was assaulted is a not an IAM member, our members put themselves in harm’s way to help deescalate the situation. Our entire union sends our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, these types of attacks on airline employees, including customer service agents and other airport workers on the ground, are occurring with frightening frequency. The IAM and our allies in transportation labor continue to lead the charge to increase penalties on any passenger who assaults workers at our nation’s airports, including adding offenders to no-fly lists. Every airline and airport worker deserves a workplace free from the threat of violence.”

The Federal Aviation Administration reported 2021 was the worst on record for disorderly passengers. There were nearly 6,000 reports of unruly passengers, with 4,200 being mask-related incidents.

Last year, the transportation agency announced a zero-tolerance policy that skips warnings and goes directly to penalties. That policy stays in place until the federal mask mandate ends.

Southwest Airlines and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport did not immediately comment on this incident.

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