- The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A Los Angeles man has been charged with one count of assaulting and intimidating a flight attendant and interfering in the performance of his duties.

The mid-flight disturbance Sunday forced an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. to make an emergency landing in Kansas City, Missouri.


Juan Rivas, 50, walked up to the front of the plane wielding plastic silverware like a makeshift shank, according to a release by the Department of Justice. A flight attendant told federal agents that he felt threatened by the knife.

Mr. Rivas then grabbed a champagne bottle and attempted to break it on the counter before trying to open the plane door, according to the DOJ.

Mr. Rivas had to be subdued by passengers and crew members. As Mr. Rivas was resisting, a flight attendant hit him in the head with a coffee pot, according to the affidavit.

One of the passengers — an off-duty police officer — began struggling with Mr. Rivas and helped restrain him until they could tie him up with zip ties and duct tape.

Passenger Mouaz Moustafa tweeted a video of the incident.

Mr. Rivas received medical treatment for a head injury. He had not been served alcohol during the flight, according to flight attendants.

Mr. Rivas remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which hasn’t yet been scheduled.

• Peter Santo can be reached at psanto@washingtontimes.com.


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