Three New York women have been charged in federal court with “viciously” assaulting a Delta security officer and beating him to the ground with his own radio, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.
The alleged attack took place in a jetway at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sept. 22, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A gate agent was also punched in the face, federal authorities said.
Jordan Nixon, 21, Janessa Torres, 21, and Johara Zavala, 44, each pleaded not guilty Thursday and were released on $25,000 bail. They were ordered to limit their travel to New York City and Long Island, where they all reside.
Peter Guadagnino, who represents Nixon, said his client denies the charges. Attorneys for the other two women declined comment, The Washington Post reported.
The women were denied entry to a Delta Airlines flight to Puerto Rico after they appeared inebriated and combative, prosecutors said.
“The defendants were belligerent, with one appearing to be visibly disoriented and possibly intoxicated, and another who was refusing to properly wear her mask,” the indictment read.
After being told they could not board the flight, the women allegedly refused to leave the jetway and yelled and cursed at the security guard who arrived at the scene, according to the indictment. Nixon is accused of grabbing the officer’s radio and hitting him repeatedly with it. When the flight’s gate employee tried to step in, Zavala allegedly punched the agent in the face, prosecutors said.
The indictment also alleges that all three women “punched and kicked” the officer in the face and body after he fell to the ground. The officer and the gate agent were treated at a hospital for their injuries and have not returned to their jobs, federal authorities 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,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in a statement Thursday.
If convicted, the women face up to 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.