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Southwest bans man charged in alleged attack on Atlanta gate agent

Date: March 24, 2022

ByMarlene Lenthang, NBC NEWS

A man who allegedly assaulted a Southwest Airlines gate agent at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier this week has been charged with battery and banned from flying with the carrier, authorities said.

Courney Drummond, 44, of Henderson, Nevada, was arrested Tuesday on charges of battery, simple battery and obstructing an officer, according to jail records and a news release from the Atlanta Police Department.

Officers were called to the airport gate in response to an alleged physical altercation around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday and found a Southwest gate agent who accused Drummond of assaulting him.

The agent told authorities that Drummond had been “behaving disorderly” after he was asked to exit a flight, Atlanta police said.

Drummond refused to comply with flight attendants as the plane taxied from the gate to the tarmac, according to the release. Due to his "aggressive behavior," the plane was forced to return to the gate and Drummond was escorted off, the police investigation found. 

After Drummond exited the plane, “he threatened a Southwest Gate agent several times and ultimately assaulted him,” according to the release. 

Drummond was arrested at the scene and taken to the Clayton County Jail without incident. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

It was not clear Friday morning if Drummond, who remains in custody on $10,000 bond, had obtained an attorney. One was not listed in jail records.

“As a result of this inexcusable attack, the individual has been banned from flying with Southwest Airlines," the carrier told NBC News in a statement Friday morning.

The airline added it has "zero tolerance for any type of assault against our Employees or Customers."

"We commend the quick actions of the Southwest Team who responded to protect their colleagues during this unacceptable event. We also appreciate the local law enforcement officers who responded to assist, and we will fully support their investigation," the statement concluded.

Unruly passengers have been a problem for airlines throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. So far this year there have been 961 reports of unruly passengers with 126 enforcement action cases initiated, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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