CRIME: Justice Department Addresses Rise In Criminal Conduct On Commercial Aircraft

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As the holiday travel season commences, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize prosecution of federal crimes occurring on commercial aircraft that endanger the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants. Federal law bans violence, intimidation, threats, and assaults that threaten flight attendants or flight crews.

“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,” said Attorney General Garland. “Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard.”

The memorandum also highlights an information-sharing protocol between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Justice Department, which helps ensure the department is notified about criminal conduct occurring on commercial aircraft. Already, the protocol has led to the FAA referring dozens of incidents to the FBI for investigation.

” The Department of Justice is determined to use its resources to prevent violence, intimidation and other criminal behavior that endangers passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants aboard commercial aircraft,” stated Attorney General Garland.

Updated November 24, 2021

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