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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 27, 2019

Airline Passenger Charged in Disturbance After Flight Diverted to KCI

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A passenger aboard an Alaska Airlines flight diverted to Kansas City International Airport was charged in federal court today with interfering with a flight attendant.

Jwan Curry, 40, of Hamburg, New Jersey, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri. Curry remains in federal custody pending an initial court appearance.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, Curry was a passenger on an Alaskan Airlines flight that was scheduled to fly nonstop from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Los Angeles International Airport. Approximately one and a half to two hours into the flight, the affidavit says, Curry became agitated after not being able to use the bathroom in the front of the aircraft. Curry engaged in a verbal altercation with the attendants because they told him he could not use the forward lavatory, which was being used by crew members at that time.

Curry began screaming, yelling and using foul language, the affidavit says. He was swinging his arms and walking up and down the aisle. While waiting in line for the bathroom at the rear of the aircraft, he began swearing loudly around other passengers in line. He entered one of the rear lavatories and stayed there for an extremely long time. When he returned to his seat, he continued to be unruly.

The flight captain announced that all passengers should return to their seats and stop interfering with the flight attendants. The attendants notified the captain that Curry became increasingly physically dangerous. Curry was punching the seat and punching himself, the affidavit says, and threatened to “blow up” the plane. Passengers reported that Curry stated he was going to “kill everyone.”

Based on this information, it was decided to divert the flight. Four passengers were given flex cuffs and helped restrain Curry, who remained restrained in his seat for the remainder of the flight. After the plane landed at Kansas City International Airport, police officers arrived and took Curry into custody.

Under federal law, it is illegal to interfere with the performance of the duties of a flight crew member or flight attendant by assaulting or intimidating the crew member or attendant.

The charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew A. Blackwood. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated September 27, 2019