Feds to step up prosecution of people who commit crimes on airplanes

Delta Air Lines planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2013. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The feds say they will prioritize prosecuting people who commit crimes on airplanes.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed the protocol in a memo to federal prosecutors. The memo also highlights an information-sharing protocol between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Justice Department.

This, the feds say, will help ensure the department is notified about criminal conduct occurring on commercial aircraft. It has already resulted in the referral of dozens of incidents by the FAA to the FBI for investigation.

“Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Garland said in an announcement. “Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard.”

Federal law prohibits assaulting, intimidating and threatening violence that interferes with flight crews and flight attendants.

“The Department of Justice is committed to using its resources to do its part to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence and other criminal behavior that endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants on commercial aircraft,” Garland added.

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