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U.S. Justice Department to prioritize prosecuting violence on flights

21 Comments
By MICHAEL BALSAMO

Attorney General Merrick Garland directed U.S. attorneys across the country to swiftly prioritize prosecution of federal crimes that happen on commercial flights as federal officials face a historic number of investigations into passenger behavior.

Garland's memo, issued Wednesday, emphasizes that the Justice Department is committed to aggressively prosecuting violent passengers who assault crew members or endanger the safety of other passengers. Federal law prohibits interfering with a flight crew, including assaulting, intimidating or threatening crew members.

In a statement, Garland said such passengers do more than harm employees. “They prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel. Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard," he said.

The memo also notes that dozens of incidents have been reported to the FBI by the Federal Aviation Administration — it investigates some flight disturbances and can issue civil fines to disruptive passengers — as part of an “information-sharing protocol” between the two agencies.

The FAA said earlier this month that it had launched 950 investigations into passenger behavior on flights this year. That is the highest total since the agency started keeping track in 1995. In the five years from 2016 through 2020, the agency averaged 136 investigations a year.

The agency also said that it had referred 37 cases involving unruly airline passengers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution since the number of disruptions on flights began to spike in January.

Airlines and their unions have pressed the federal government to push more aggressively for criminal prosecution. Airlines have reported more than 5,000 incidents involving unruly passengers this year, with more than 3,600 of those involving people who refused to wear face masks as required by federal regulation.

“The Department of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence and other criminal behavior that endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants on commercial aircraft,” Garland said in the statement.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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I just don't understand people who act up on a flight.

You're all packed in like sardines and everyone just wants to get it over with as smoothly and quickly as possible. Why get unruly cause a scene?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

You're all packed in like sardines and everyone just wants to get it over with as smoothly and quickly as possible. Why get unruly cause a scene?

Well, the problem is, planes are compromising comfort for maximum capacity and that means, reclining your seat becomes a problem, service (at least in the US) is absolutely atrocious, flight attendants are often lukewarm, food beyond mediocre, more kids, more babies, flights very often late and not on schedule, so when you combine all of these factors it is no wonder tempers are flaring. Even though the US has an outstanding record when it comes to plane safety and maintenance, it lacks greatly in service, whereas the Asian carriers particularly The Korean and Japanese carriers will blow the US carriers away on all levels of service. Take your pick.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Low hanging fruit! It is pretty obvious. The same crimes on the ground, car, train, or bus apply in the air with right to apply harsher penalties because people lives are at risk like in the previous scenarios mentioned.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

The DOJ should absolutely increase the prosecution of disruptive passengers. These self-entitled people endanger the flight crew and their fellow passengers with their behavior.

Take your seat, wear your mask, enjoy the hands down safest way to travel.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@NOMINATION

I guess you didn't notice that the entire original statement deflected from the article about violence on flights. However, you wanted to focus on your narrative and no one else has a right to an opinion.

I guess you didn't notice that I was directly commenting on Yrral statements. However, when YOU moderators get called out for the baiting and start getting alot of downvotes, you begin to delete other posters comments.

Obviously, leaving only your posts.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Well, the problem is, planes are compromising comfort for maximum capacity and that means, reclining your seat becomes a problem, service (at least in the US) is absolutely atrocious,

Stop excusing this clearly boorish and dangerous behavior. These entitled right-wing Kens and Karens think their "freedom" to not wear a mask or comply with other required health safety measures is more important than possibly spreading a deadly infection to everyone else. Even you have said the vaccine doesn't work....

They live in a far-right media induced world of outrage and anger - and lash out at with violence at the first opportunity...

They should be held accountable criminally - and certainly banished from any other travel, air or otherwise....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Airlines need to hire big and muscular bouncers as flight attendants.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

lincolnmanToday  09:13 am JST

> They live in a far-right media induced world of outrage and anger - and lash out at with violence at the first opportunity..

The majority of airplane violence in the US over the past 10 years had been committed by far-leftists.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The DOJ should absolutely increase the prosecution of disruptive passengers. These self-entitled people endanger the flight crew and their fellow passengers with their behavior.

I am concerned that the FBI is stretched too thin by seeking to prioritize prosecuting passengers causing disturbances on airlines AND surveiling parents who are protesting the teaching of racism in their schools and the protection of those who are raping other students in school bathrooms.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The majority of airplane violence in the US over the past 10 years had been committed by far-leftists.

Opposition to wearing face masks made up nearly 73% of all incidents over the year.

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/25/1040715959/passenger-attempted-to-rush-the-cockpit-in-violent-altercation-on-jetblue-flight

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The softball Biden-Garland DOJ works in mysterious ways seeming to be only interested in furtively cherry-picking some of the low-hanging fruit instead of prosecuting the political elite who egregiously betrayed their oaths of office and trashed the Constitution. Only draconian sanctions against these privileged traitors and miscreants can satisfy the demands of justice to safeguard America's freedoms imperiled by internecine fracturing more dangerous than the threat of any enemy without.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

easures is more important than possibly spreading a deadly infection to everyone else. Even you have said the vaccine doesn't work....

Oh, stop? It’s not just about wearing a mask, there are other reasons, lots of reasons why people go nuts on planes.

They live in a far-right media induced world of outrage and anger - and lash out at with violence at the first opportunity...

So every passenger conservative or right wing person, I don’t know what it is with you, but you just don’t care about entering into a discussion and talking about serious problems or even bringing ideas or a solution. All you just want to do all day is just talk about conservatives are bad and everybody’s into Trump anything that goes wrong within the country it’s all conservatives fault. You really need a new argument, it’s old, petty, predictable and boring. You are the most off topic person on this site.

They should be held accountable criminally - and certainly banished from any other travel, air or otherwise....

Anyone that does should, I can agree on that one.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yeah good to see them taking time away from going to school board meetings and claiming concerned parents are “domestic terrorists”.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

easures is more important than possibly spreading a deadly infection to everyone else. Even you have said the vaccine doesn't work....

Oh, stop? It’s not just about wearing a mask, there are other reasons, lots of reasons why people go nuts on planes.

It helps to read all the posts before commenting....

Opposition to wearing face masks made up nearly 73% of all incidents over the year.

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/25/1040715959/passenger-attempted-to-rush-the-cockpit-in-violent-altercation-on-jetblue-flight

They live in a far-right media induced world of outrage and anger - and lash out at with violence at the first opportunity...

So every passenger conservative or right wing person, I don’t know what it is with you, but you just don’t care about entering into a discussion and talking about serious problems or even bringing ideas or a solution. All you just want to do all day is just talk about conservatives are bad and everybody’s into Trump anything that goes wrong within the country it’s all conservatives fault. You really need a new argument, it’s old, petty, predictable and boring. You are the most off topic person on this site.

Ditto....

They should be held accountable criminally - and certainly banished from any other travel, air or otherwise....

Anyone that does should, I can agree on that one.

Good...that shows "affection"...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It helps to read all the posts before commenting....

I did, but you can’t just continuously generalize like that.

Ditto....

I don’t bring Trump into the conversation.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

If you get kicked off a plane, you shouldn't be ever allowed on a plane again. These people are entirely useless members of society.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you get kicked off a plane, you shouldn't be ever allowed on a plane again. These people are entirely useless members of society.

I completely agree!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

bass4funkToday  01:32 pm JST

If you get kicked off a plane, you shouldn't be ever allowed on a plane again. These people are entirely useless members of society.

I completely agree!

I second that.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It helps to read all the posts before commenting....

I did, but you can’t just continuously generalize like that.

But you can continue to contradict yourself if you want....

Bass4funk: "It’s not just about wearing a mask,"

My cite: Opposition to wearing face masks made up nearly 73% of all incidents over the year.

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/25/1040715959/passenger-attempted-to-rush-the-cockpit-in-violent-altercation-on-jetblue-flight

Ditto....

I don’t bring Trump into the conversation.

Neither did I....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Airlines have reported more than 5,000 incidents involving unruly passengers this year, with more than 3,600 of those involving people who refused to wear face masks as required by federal regulation.

So they wore a mask just until boarding the plane

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don’t bring Trump into the conversation.

You did, actually. The first mention of Trump on this page is in your post.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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