Department of Justice prioritizes prosecution of violence on airplanes

Washington (Associated Press)-Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed U.S. prosecutors across the country to promptly give priority to prosecuting federal crimes committed on commercial flights because federal officials face historic actions against passengers survey.

Garland’s memo released on Wednesday emphasized that the Justice Department is committed to prosecuting violent passengers who attacked the crew or endangered the safety of other passengers. Federal law prohibits interference with crew members, including attacking, intimidating, or threatening crew members.

Garland said in a statement that such passengers will not only harm employees. “They hinder the fulfillment of key responsibilities that help ensure safe air travel. Similarly, when passengers commit violence against other passengers within the enclosed area of ​​a commercial aircraft, this behavior endangers everyone on board,” he said.

The memorandum also pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration has reported dozens of incidents to the FBI-it Investigate some flight disturbances And can impose civil fines on disruptive passengers-this is part of the “information sharing agreement” between the two agencies.

Related video: FAA warns unruly passengers will face serious consequences

The FAA said earlier this month that it has launched 950 investigations into passenger behavior on flights this year. This is the highest total since the agency started tracking in 1995. In the five years from 2016 to 2020, the agency conducted an average of 136 surveys per year.

The agency also stated 37 cases referred Since the number of flight disruptions began to surge in January, unruly airline passengers have been prosecuted by the FBI for possible criminal prosecution.

“The unacceptable destructive behavior we have seen poses a serious security threat to the flight, and we are committed to working with the US Department of Justice to combat it,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dixon.

Airlines and their unions have urged the federal government to promote criminal prosecutions more actively. Airlines this year reported more than 5,000 incidents involving unruly passengers, of which more than 3,600 involved people who refused to wear masks as required by federal regulations.

Garland said in the statement: “The Ministry of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence and other criminal acts that endanger the safety of passengers, crew and flight attendants on commercial aircraft.”.

Sara Nelson, International Chairperson of Flight Attendants Association-CWA and AFL-CIO also expressed appreciation for Garland’s announcement.

Nelson said in a statement: “The consequences need to be quick and clear to ensure travel safety and protect frontline personnel through all the pressures of this pandemic.” “We want to take people to New Orleans, Seattle, Lauderdale. Fort, or visit grandma. We don’t want to send them to prison. However, the Ministry of Justice can now make it clear that if you refuse to cooperate and take violent actions on the plane, where are you going.”

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