Flight Attendant Accused of Attacks Appears in Court

2 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

American Airlines flight attendant to judge: I did not disrupt flights.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — An American Airlines flight attendant accused of attacking fellow crew members and two U.S. air marshals during a trans-Atlantic flight made her first court appearance Tuesday, where attorneys argued over whether she should be held in custody or released to her family. Joanne Snow is accused of two aviation-related federal crimes that carry a maximum combined penalty of more than 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Joanne Snow was arrested last week after marshals said she exhibited irrational behavior during a round-trip flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt, Germany. Court papers filed in federal court said Snow told marshals she was “crazy” and a “train wreck” before a flight on Nov. 23 to which she was assigned by American Airlines.

In court during her initial appearance, prosecutors revealed new information saying Snow tried to unlock the plane’s door as it taxied toward a gate at the Frankfurt airport. Snow’s court-appointed attorney, Elizabeth Blackwood of Charlotte, pushed for Snow’s release, saying her client has a home and adult children in New Hampshire where she can be supervised and monitored. Court papers said crew members had expressed concerns about Snow’s behavior and asked that she not be allowed on the plane but that American Airlines assigned her to the crew anyway. Asked for comment Tuesday, American Airlines issued a statement saying “we are absolutely investigating what happened in this incident and want to try to prevent issues in the future.” The judge denied her attorney’s request for bond Tuesday and instead ordered her to remain in federal custody until a competency hearing scheduled for Friday. It was also revealed in court that Snow was involuntarily committed to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte before she was voluntarily committed to nearby Cabarrus Medical Center.

Snow is charged with interference with flight crews and attendants, and with assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer or employee of the United States. Fialka said Snow later shoved him several times on his shoulder and arm as he was seated, then went to the back of the plane and grabbed the collar of another air marshal. American spokeswoman Katie Cody said Tuesday that employee-privacy policies and the ongoing criminal investigation limit what the company can say about the case, but she acknowledged that it raises “good questions.” “We are investigating it internally to understand what happened, and we will be responding accordingly,” she said. “We want to figure this out so we can address these situations in the future.” American Airlines didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking Snow’s employment record, including how many years she had been employed with the company or worked as a flight attendant.

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