So, we investigated what happened in this case, and what’s being done about travelers causing trouble at airports nationwide.
Cleveland police video shows a woman at a gate inside the terminal, and when she sees officers approaching, she stands up and starts elbowing an officer.
She can be heard saying, “I’ll fight you. I’ll (expletive) fight you.”
A police report shows it happened last month after the woman was not allowed to board a flight. Investigators say the crew suspected she was intoxicated.
As the police get the woman in handcuffs, one officer says, “Why’d you have to do that? All you had to do was go home.”
The woman answers, “I tried to go home, but you guys wouldn’t (expletive) let me.”
An officer, then, says, “Calm down.”
But, the woman yells, “(expletive) all cops. Are you gonna shoot me? Are you gonna shoot me? ‘Cause that’s what cops do, right?”
Police video also shows a man with the irate traveler asking airline workers, “What’s the reason why she can’t get on a plane? Like, honestly?”
Now, Cuyahoga County Prosecutors have indicted Hope Mazeika. She now faces three felony charges for assaulting police along with another charge for resisting arrest.
And, this case led us to ask what’s going on nationwide with travelers out of control?
The Federal Aviation Administration says the number of “unruly passengers” exploded after the COVID-19 outbreak, but that number has dropped sharply.
The FAA says it has carried out a zero-tolerance policy for passengers causing trouble during a flight. They can face fines (tens of thousands of dollars) and criminal charges.
The Transportation Security Administration has also taken steps to address this.
We’ve reported on disturbances occurring on planes nationwide and in Cleveland.
This case developed before the plane took off.
We left messages for the suspect and her attorney asking for comment. We did not immediately hear back.
Hope Mazeika must go before a judge in Cuyahoga County Court soon to begin answering charges. Records show she has an address in Colorado, so she will likely have to do some traveling again to face a judge.
Meantime, the TSA released a statement. It said,” There has been a significant increase in physical assaults on airline flight attendants and gate agents, TSA’s Transportation Security Officers, and other aviation workers since the summer of 2021. Addressing this passenger trend continues to be a high priority.
TSA works closely with airports and air carriers, the FAA, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies to share real-time reporting that informs enforcement actions. Earlier this year, we announced that all passengers fined by the FAA for unruly behavior will be subject to losing eligibility for TSA PreCheck®. Federal Air Marshals have led self-defense trainings for flight attendants, giving them the tools to protect themselves and their passengers from violent attacks from abusive travelers. We also have Federal Air Marshals on certain flights that may or may not break cover to get directly involved, but those who are onboard are maintaining situational awareness and will intervene when needed. “