A man being deported has been charged with assaulting Homeland Security officers on a Delta Air Lines flight.
Jhovany Arias-Herrera’s conduct on the Nov. 13 flight injured the officers and “created havoc and panic for passengers,” according to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
Herrera was being transported from San Diego to Peru with a connection in Atlanta, Pak said.
Herrera, who was in the United States without authorization, was arraigned Wednesday on a federal charge of assaulting Homeland Security investigation, enforcement and removal operations officers.
After Herrera and other passengers boarded the flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Herrera “suddenly began screaming and demanding to use the bathroom,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
While officers escorted him to the bathroom, Herrera “punched the airplane wall, frightening nearby passengers,” prosecutors said. After leaving the bathroom and learning he had been moved to another seat, Herrera “began yelling again.”
Officers decided to remove Herrera from the plane, but by then he was in a middle seat, “still screaming, and with clenched fists,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office. While officers tried to remove him, “Herrera tore off his sweater and threw it at passengers seated in front of him.”
Two officers grabbed the arms of Herrera, who kicked an officer in the knee, bruising him, and “repeatedly struck another officer as well,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Herrera was eventually removed from the flight. Atlanta police officers assisted in detaining him.
Homeland Security is investigating the case with assistance from the Atlanta Police Department.
Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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