On Board Crimes and Laser Pointing Aircraft Attacks being PROSECUTED

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Though Rare, Crimes occur on Flights- CONSEQUENCES

Sexual Assault and what to do

Shining Lasers at aircraft- WILL BE PROSECUTED

The time that passengers are on commercial airplane flight is considered safe and the data supports this characterization. This generalization has occasional exceptions. One might forecast that the stress of COVID-19 and the tense atmosphere (real or perceived) surrounding security and tight seating increase the likelihood of inappropriate on-board behavior.

To put the below stories in numerical context, in 2019 US airlines flew 1.1 billion passengers on 10,218,300 flights. The incidents are miniscule, but each is significant to the individuals involved.

In the category of pointing lasers at an aircraft, the FBI, FAA and state/local law enforcement offices are actively pursuing these miscreants. A national campaign is employing high tech equipment to identify the violators. Most importantly, the prosecutors are successfully obtaining heavy sentences . THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES!!!

Hardly scientific, here is a sampling of recent incidents resulting in criminal actions:


Mississippi Resident Sentenced for Attempting to Carry a Weapon On Board an Aircraft


Hattiesburg, Miss. – Kendrick D. Holder, Jr., 27, of Lumberton, MS, was sentenced March 13, 2018, to a term of 30 months in the Bureau of Prisons, ordered to pay a fine of $3,000, and was further ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, for the crime of Attempting to Carry a Weapon On Board an Aircraft, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst. Holder previously pleaded guilty to the offense on December 19, 2017.

On May 6, 2016, Kendrick Holder was Stopped While attempting to board flight 2865 from Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional airport to Dallas/Fort Worth. Within his carry-on bag was loaded Smith and Wesson 40-caliber firearm. This conduct violated Title 49 Section 4605(b)(1) United States Code.


Flight attendant charged with being intoxicated after passengers raise alarm


passed out flight attendant

flight attendant was charged with criminal public intoxication on Thursday after passengers aboard a United Express flight raised alarms and one tweeted a video appearing to show her slumped over in her seat.

…And when administered a Breathalyzer test, her level was 0.204, five times over the legal limit for flight attendants, the complaint said. The Federal Aviation Administration said the limit for all aviation sensitive positions — pilot, flight attendant, mechanic, for example — is .04 for alcohol


Texas man charged for midair meltdown challenges law, saying it was just rudeness

Justin Riley Brafford never made it to Dallas last year when he lost his temper with a flight attendant, and now he’s fighting the charge against him of interfering with a flight crew.

Update on August 13 at 4:30 p.m.:  Brafford has pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault for “offensively touching” the female passenger seated next to him on her leg and feet. A federal magistrate judge in New Mexico sentenced him on the same day to five years’ probation. Brafford also must also undergo substance abuse treatment.

When does being a jerk rise to the level of becoming a felony when you’re 30,000 feet in the air?

A federal judge has been asked to decide the matter.

Justin Riley Brafford’s behavior in the sky while aboard a Southwest Airlines flight last October is the conduct in question. The 29-year-old Denton man flirted with a woman next to him, touching and “playing footsies” with her, according to an FBI complaint. When she rebuffed his advances and requested a new seat, a flight attendant scolded him.

Brafford, 29, didn’t take it well. He threw a profanity-laced tantrum in the attendant’s face for about 30 seconds and then sat down and kept quiet for the duration of the flight, according to court records.

The flight attendant, passengers and other crew members were intimidated by Brafford’s “belligerent manner,” federal authorities say, leading the pilot to divert the Dallas-bound flight to Albuquerque, where the FBI arrested him…

John Van Butcher, his attorney, said his client didn’t make any threats and didn’t lay a finger on the flight attendant, who is physically larger, during the brief encounter. He is challenging the federal law, arguing that it’s vague and unconstitutional. Brafford has requested a bench trial, which was scheduled for the end of the month.

“I’ve seen some things that were a lot worse that didn’t lead to charges,” Butcher said. “Being obnoxious and boorish is not a crime.”


A New York man assaulted a flight attendant on a plane and then charged toward the responding officers, police say

(CNN)A New York man has been charged after allegedly assaulting a flight attendant on a flight to New Jersey and later attacking police officers, officials say.

Matthew Dingley, 28, is accused of assaulting the flight attendant on Thursday evening on a CommutAir flight …

The flight landed without incident, the statement says, and “was met by local law enforcement due to a disruptive passenger.”

A little before 9 p.m., Port Authority Police responded to the flight when it arrived at Newark Airport. When the plane stopped and the doors opened, Dingley allegedly charged at the responding officers causing them to fall down the stairs used for passengers and hit the pavement,…

Dingley was charged with aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and interfering with transportation. He was booked into the Essex County Jail on Friday, according to online records.



Van Nuys, California, man convicted of sexual assault on an aircraft

Sexually assaulted a 22-year-old who was disabled by prescribed medication and alcohol

Seattle – A 42-year-old Van Nuys, California, man was convicted late yesterday in U.S. District Court in Seattle of two federal felonies for his sexual assault on a young woman on a flight from London to Seattle.  BABAK REZAPOUR was convicted of abusive sexual contact in a special aircraft jurisdiction and abusive sexual contact with an incapacitated victim.  The jury deliberated about two and a half hours following a five-day jury trial…

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, REZAPOUR sexually assaulted the 22-year-old victim while she was incapacitated from medication and alcohol on a Norwegian Air flight from London to Seattle on January 10, 2018.  The victim had taken prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-nausea medication and drank a glass of wine…  She awoke to find REZAPOUR sexually assaulting her.  REZAPOUR used his jacket to shield the activity from other passengers.  The victim fled to the back of the plane and reported the assault to flight attendants…

In addition to consistent statements from the victim and witnesses, prosecutors used DNA evidence to prove REZAPOUR’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  An FBI DNA expert described how she discovered  REZAPOUR’s DNA inside the victim’s underwear.  Abusive Sexual Contact on an Aircraft is punishable by up to two years in prison, and Abusive Sexual Contact with an Incapacitated Victim is punishable by up to three years in prison.

FROM TWO YEARS AGOFBI sexual assault poster


FBI Highlights Increase Of In-Flight Sexual Assaults And Provides Some Useful Advice

“US law officials believe they’re assisting female flyers with the release of a ‘sexual assault prevention list’ designed to reduce the fast growing number of cases occurring at 32,000-feet.


Trust your gut: Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. ‘Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt,’ special agent David Gates says. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately, and consider asking to be moved to another seat.

Don’t knock yourself out: Recognize that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk. ‘Don’t knock yourself out with alcohol or drugs,’ Gates warns.

Create a barrier: If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down.

Choose an aisle seat: If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, try to reserve an aisle seat so flight attendants can keep a closer watch on them. The FBI has seen victims as young as eight years old.

Report it: If an incident happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask that they record the attacker’s identity and report the incident. ‘Flight attendants and captains represent authority on the plane,’ Gates said. ‘We don’t want them to be police officers, but they can alert law enforcement, and they can sometimes deal with the problem in the air.’ The flight crew can also put the offender on notice, which might prevent further problems.

Crimes aboard aircraft fall within the FBI’s jurisdiction, and in the case of in-flight sexual assaults, agents describe elements of these crimes as being strikingly similar.

The attacks generally occur on long-haul flights when the cabin is dark. The victims are usually in middle or window seats, sleeping, and covered with a blanket or jacket.

They report waking up to their seatmate’s hands inside their clothing or underwear.

The FBI has launched a poster as part of its campaign to fight in-flight sexual assault, urging passengers to report any incidents by visiting tips.fbi.gov[2], calling 1-800-CALL-FBI, or visiting a local FBI office.



Unruly U.K. passengers on plane diverted to Winnipeg given jail time, forced to pay $100K

A pair of airline passengers from the United Kingdom whose unruly behaviour forced their plane to land in Winnipeg last week will both spend time in jail and each pay $100,000 in restitution after pleading guilty on Tuesday to charges stemming from their drunken antics.

man arrested in WinnipegJames Iontton, 25, and Natalie Louise Walker, 34, were on a flight from London, U.K. to Los Cabos, Mexico, Thursday when a fellow passenger told Global News Iontton got drunk and began threatening passengers and staff.

After airline staff restrained Iontton in his seat, the plane made an unscheduled stop in Winnipeg, where police boarded the plane and arrested him.



Man charged in federal court after brawl on airplane approaching Seattle

Parente said the Korean Air flight attendants were pretty small and so too were the two reserve pilots who jumped in to help subdue a passenger who began, 45 minutes from Seattle, banging on the cockpit door and trying to wrench it open.

The flight attendants couldn’t stop the passenger and turned to the 6-foot Parente, sitting near them in business class, for help.

Parente said after the passenger bolted around the plane, he was shot with Tasers by the flight attendants and wrangled to the ground WWF-style by Parente and the two reserve pilots. The passenger was bound with giant zip ties and sat upon for the remainder of the flight.

FBI agents took him into custody at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

On Friday, Gyeong Jei Lee, a Korean native who now lives in Colorado, was charged with interference with a flight crew and assault on an aircraft in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

According to the complaint, the flight from Seoul was about an hour from Seattle when Lee donned a plastic bag with breathing holes and threatened the crew with a sharp hairpin.

video of passenger being tazed

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/C4BQZCDQb4U


Airline Passenger Pleads Guilty To Interfering With Flight Attendant

On October 5, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Matthew Dingley pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with flight crewmembers and attendants. The guilty plea relates to a January 9, 2020, incident in which Dingley—a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Dulles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport—interfered with a flight attendant’s ability to perform her duties by physically striking and intimidating her.

DOT-OIG is conducting the investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.


New Haven man groped passenger aboard flight

NDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — A New Haven man has been charged in federal court with groping a sleeping passenger and exposing himself while on a flight from Indianapolis to Denver in 2017.

A grand jury has indicted 38-year-old Ian Wagner with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent exposure.



FBI refuses to name ‘well-known NC pastor’ accused of urinating on woman during flight

DETROIT – A Michigan woman says she woke up to someone urinating on her while she was on a Delta flight home to Detroit from Las Vegas. That someone happened to be a well-known North Carolina pastor, according to a report from WJBK-TV, FOX 2 News in Detroit.

The pastor, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was issued a court appearance for misdemeanor assault and released, said Mara Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Detroit office of the FBI.

“Until he appears in front of a judge and therefore gets formally charged, we will not be releasing his name,” Schneider said.


Sources told the station that the pastor had an apparent reaction to a sleep aid.

“He didn’t say anything the whole time he was standing there,” Alicia told Fox 2.

The FBI said in a statement to The Sun that the suspect “was issued a court appearance for a misdemeanor assault and released”.






Person arrested after patrol aircraft is hit with laser light

A person is in jail after a Washington State Patrol aircraft was hit with a laser light over Tumwater.

The aircraft was helping locate an elderly man Thursday who had wandered away from caregivers when it happened, KING-TV reported. That man was found Friday morning, according to Tumwater police.

It’s the latest incident of a dangerous practice that can have serious consequences, officials said.

Lasers can blind a pilot temporarily, making them unable to see their instruments, and even lead to permanent eye damage.

Disrupting a pilot is considered a serious threat to air safety. It’s a felony in Washington and violators can also be fined $11,000 per incident by the Federal Aviation Administration.

WSP spokesperson Trooper Darren Wright said this was the sixth incident in a month involving the patrol’s aircraft.

Like Thursday night, most of the incidents involving WSP aircraft have resulted in an arrest.

Planes landing at Sea-Tac International Airport have also been hit with lasers while on final approach over the years.


Turlock Man Sentenced for Laser Strikes on Helicopter

FRESNO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd sentenced a Turlock man today to two years and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for purposefully striking a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s helicopter with the beam of a powerful laser, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

In March 2018, Roger Shane John, 34, pleaded guilty. According to court documents, on the evening of Oct. 22, 2017, John struck a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s helicopter, Air 101, five to six times with a powerful green laser, causing visual interference of both the pilot and tactical flight officer and disrupting an air support response to a domestic violence call. The laser strikes occurred within the Federal Aviation Administration‑designated laser-free zone of the Modesto Airport.


Dale County man faces FBI prosecution over pointing lasers at military, police aircraft

At around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the DCSO learned that someone was shining lasers and high-powered spotlights at military aircraft around Cairns Army Airfield. The lights were being shined into the cockpits while the aircraft were moving in a traffic pattern outside the airfield.

A DCSO release states that a sheriff’s office aircraft looked through the area to find the person responsible. Upon its final approach, the aircraft was hit with a spotlight shining into the cockpit.

The crew tracked the light to a home near the airfield, landing near it while the suspect, Jacob Moseley of Daleville, tried to run on foot. However, the tactical flight officer chased the 44-year-old into a wooded area, taking him into custody.



Federal officers in Portland may have been permanently blinded by lasers, officials say

At least three federal officers in Portland may not recover their vision after earlier this week demonstrators, who have shown up in crowds of over 1,000 for more than 50 consecutive nights, shined lasers in their eyes and threw fireworks at a federal courthouse, officials said.

…Red, green and purple lasers were aimed by rioters at federal officers through the courthouse doors while one group used a strobe light on the building.

The FBI website lists 80 criminal actions (pending and convictions) against individuals shining lasers at aircraft. Federal sentencing guidelines recommend incarceration  of  18 months to 24 months in prison.


Sec. 39A. Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft
(a) OFFENSE — Whoever knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title {maximum of  $250,000} or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. 

Shining A Laser At A Plane Is A Serious Federal Crime For Good Reasons & Sentences Should Reflect The Endangering Of SAFETY




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