Video of unruly actions by passengers at BNA show bad behavior doesn’t just happen in the air
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Getting cussed out, given the middle finger, and told “You’re no (expletive) worth to me;” it’s all part of unruly behavior caught on body camera video directed towards airport police at Nashville International Airport since the beginning of the pandemic, arrest records show.
News4 Investigates documented 53 arrests since 2020 at the airport itself for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and simple assault, often resulting in delayed flights.
The arrests have continued even after unruly behavior on airplanes during the pandemic made headlines, many because of a refusal to wear masks.
The analysis of arrests at the airport showed some were linked to a refusal to wear masks.
But video obtained by News4 Investigates since February 2022 show some of the most alarming behavior had nothing to do with masks and were all linked to angry passengers.
‘You’ve got a stress situation when you travel. That should never escalate to the point where you verbally harass or assault somebody,” Mark Howell, spokesman for TSA.
In one case captured on body camera, a man repeatedly flips off airport officers in the terminal after being denied boarding a Southwest flight.
“I’ll give you the bird, I’ll give you the bird,” the man said on the video. “(Expletive) you, (expletive) you, (expletive) you, (expletive) you, and (expletive) you.”
A responding officer explained to the man that he’s being denied access to the plane because he appears to be intoxicated.
“Flying is a privilege, not a right,” another officer warned him.
The man is asked to leave the airport, and repeatedly curses at officers and stops walking.
“You want me to make a scene? Now I’ll make a scene,” the man said.
When the first responding officer tells the man he needs to leave the airport immediately, he responds by saying, “(Expletive) you.”
The officers then attempt to arrest the man and have to wrestle him to the ground to handcuff him.
Even after he’s handcuffed, he continued to mock the officers.
In another case, body camera footage shows a woman screaming at workers for her lost purse.
While she admits that she left the purse on a flight, she repeatedly insists that workers retrieve it.
“Just find my (expletive) purse and get it to me,” she said.
When an officer tries to talk to her, she dismisses him, saying, “You’re no (expletive) worth to me. Go on your way then.”
She then faces the officer, yelling that he’s threatening her.
When he arrests her, she pleads, “I’m sorry. I really don’t want this. I really don’t want this. My God. Please sir, I’m so sorry.”
In another case, a woman is at the gate, having been removed from the flight for being irate.
The video shows her yelling at awaiting passengers, shouting as she’s arrested, “Supposedly we’re in America, land of the free!”
In 2021, the FAA reported 5,981 unruly passengers, but those numbers do not include arrests in the airport.
Not only did the FAA launch a campaign to remind people that they can be arrested for unruly behavior, but the TSA also posted signs in airports, telling passengers not to make threats or verbally abuse officers.
In the three incidents captured on body camera, News4 Investigates attempted to reach all those arrested and their attorneys but were unsuccessful.
The district attorney’s office confirmed that the man in the body camera video later died for unknown reasons.
There is no record of what happened to the woman demanding her purse, as her arrest records exist but there is nothing in the court system, which can indicate a charge was expunged.
In the case of the woman arrested at the terminal, her case was dismissed.
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