U.S. charges passenger with assaulting American Airlines flight attendant

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) -U.S. prosecutors in Colorado on Monday charged a 20-year-old California man with assaulting a flight attendant on an Oct. 27 American Airlines flight that forced its diversion.

The New York to Santa Ana, California, flight made an unscheduled landing in Denver after the alleged assault.

Brian Hsu, of Irvine, California, who is also charged with interference with a flight crew, is in federal custody and set to make an initial appearance https://court.cacd.uscourts.gov/cacd/CrimIntakeCal.NSF/b3e4628792211f8d882571ee007340ec/873eeec84edc07c78825878000617295?OpenDocument in Santa Ana on Monday ahead of a formal arraignment in Denver at a later date.

Reuters could not locate a representative for Hsu and an attorney was not listed in court records.

U.S. airlines have reported a record number of violent incidents this year and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has pledged a “zero tolerance” approach.

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker on Thursday sounded the alarm about disruptive and violent incidents onboard U.S. airplanes following the incident.

“This type of behavior has to stop,” Parker said in a video posted on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CVlEKgSD-F-, calling the incident “one of the worst displays of unruly behavior we’ve ever witnessed.”

A passenger on the flight told CBS https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/10/28/aa-flight-from-new-yorks-jfk-to-john-wayne-airport-diverts-to-denver-after-flight-attendant-attacked-by-passenger Los Angeles that the flight attendant had blood splattered on her mask after she had been punched.

On Oct. 8, President Joe Biden said he instructed the Justice Department to “deal” with https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-says-us-will-deal-with-violence-airplanes-2021-10-07 the rising number of violent incidents onboard planes.

Through Oct. 25, there have been 4,941 reports of unruly passenger incidents, including 3,580 related to pandemic face covering regulations.

In June, a group representing major U.S. airlines such as American, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, as well as aviation unions, asked Garland to prosecute violent air passengers.

A union representing Southwest Airlines workers said in May that a flight attendant “was seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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