Woman accused of assaulting TSA officers at Phoenix airport
Apr 26, 2023, 7:59 AM | Updated: 11:54 am
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arkansas woman has been arrested for allegedly assaulting three Transportation Security Administration agents at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after a dispute over apple juice, authorities said Wednesday.
TSA officials said Makiah Coleman, 19, allegedly attacked the officers as she was going through airport security just before 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Court documents showed Coleman became upset because TSA officers took away her apple juice while she was going through security because large amounts of liquids aren’t allowed.
Coleman reportedly was ranting as she tried to retrieve the juice from a disposal bin but was pushed away by a TSA agent.
Documents said Coleman then scuffled with other officers — allegedly biting one agent, punching and elbowing another in the head, and grabbing the ponytail of a third.
Phoenix police were called to the scene and took Coleman into custody. They said Coleman, of Little Rock, now faces several misdemeanor assault charges, one count of criminal damage and a low-level felony count of aggravated assault and was being held on a $4,500 bond.
It was not immediately known Wednesday if Coleman had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.
TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers called it an “unprovoked and brazen physical attack” and said the incident caused the closure of the checkpoint, forcing about 450 travelers to go to another checkpoint for their security screening.
Two agents were taken to a hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries before being released, according to TSA officials.
They said any threat, verbal abuse or physical violence toward TSA employees could result in criminal penalties and fines of up to nearly $14,000.