Three women from New York are facing charges for allegedly assaulting a security officer after refusing to leave a jetway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, federal officials announced.
Long Island residents Janessa Torres, age 21, Johanna Zavala, age 44, both of Central Islip, and Bay Shore resident Jordan Nixon, age 21, were charged in federal court for allegedly assaulting the officer and a second employee on Sept. 22, 2021.
Prosecutors said that the three women refused to leave the jetway after they were informed that they would be denied boarding for a Delta Airlines scheduled flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
US Attorney Breon Peace said that the women “were belligerent, with one appearing to be visibly disoriented and possibly intoxicated, and another who was refusing to properly wear her mask.”
A gate agent proceeded to notify the flight crew of the three women, and it was determined that they should not be permitted to board the flight.
However, it is alleged that when the airline security officer ordered them to leave the jetway, they approached him yelling and cursing.
One of the women then allegedly struck the security officer with his own radio, sending him to the floor. When the gate agent attempted to intervene, a second woman punched him in the face.
It is alleged that they then began punching and kicking the security agent in the face while he was on the floor. Both employees were later treated at an area hospital for injuries sustained in the assault.
“As alleged, the (women) viciously assaulted an airline security officer by beating him to the floor with his radio and then kicking and punching him in the face and body while he was down,” Peace said. “The extreme and aggressive behavior in connection with our air travel is out of control.
“This office has zero-tolerance for violent conduct that threatens the safety of airline passengers and employees and will prosecute defendants who allegedly engage in such conduct to the fullest extent of the law.”
Each of the women was indicted on a single count of interference with security screening personnel. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in federal prison.
“The FBI is the lead federal agency in charge of arresting those who assault, intimidate, or threaten flight crew, or endanger the safety of other passengers,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said.
“Anyone who thinks they can get away with this type of unruly behavior should be reminded that their actions are criminal and can result in time behind bars as a result of federal criminal charges.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.