by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Kentucky man faces up to 20 years in prison after being arrested on charges of assaulting a flight attendant in Charlotte.
Michael Kerr made an initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte.
Federal agents said he was on board a flight from Lexington, Kentucky on July 21 when he became disruptive after consuming three Jack Daniels beverages.
Kerr got out of his seat before the plane stopped at the gate and when he was told to sit down, threatened to “break the jaw of the flight of attendant,” agents said.
A second flight attendant told agents she was assaulted.
The employee didn’t want to comment to Eyewitness News but her brother, Karlos Reed, said she told him Kerr “called her the n-word’.
“He kicked her. He hit her. He punched her and finally he charged her and knocked her to the floor,” Reed said.
Cellphone video taken by another passenger showed Kerr standing in the aisle and refusing to sit down before following a flight attendant to the front of the plane.
Federal agents said it took two pilots to control Kerr who was held “face down in the aisle with his hands restrained while flight crew members wrapped a seatbelt strap around Kerr’s ankles.”
Neither Kerr nor his court-appointed attorney offered any explanation for his alleged behavior.
The National Flight Attendants Association said it is concerned by a rising number of assaults of crew members.
“When we go to work every day, we know that it’s in a confined cabin space with more people crammed into a smaller area than ever. We’re de-escalating situations all day long,” said AFA spokesperson Taylor Garland.
Kerr is being held without bond in the Mecklenburg County jail. He faces state charges including assault on a female and a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew.
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