ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KRQE) — Police body camera video shows a Texas man’s arrest at the Albuquerque Sunport after being accused of making unwanted advances toward a passenger and forcing a plane to make an emergency landing.
Justin Brafford, 29, is facing assault and interfering with a flight crew charges after an Oct. 16, 2018, Southwest Airlines flights abruptly landed at the Albuquerque International Sunport.
The fully loaded plane flight was supposed to land in Dallas, Texas, but diverted to Albuquerque after an onboard disturbance.
KRQE News 13 obtained police body camera video of the incident, showing officers’ response to the incident.
A team of officers was waiting for Brafford at the gate as the flight landed. As officers boarded, the team was briefed by a flight attendant who said Brafford yelled at him when they tried to confront him and his alleged behavior.
“(He was) getting in my face, just making a scene at me, yelling at the top of lungs,” said the flight attendant.
Witnesses who saw the incident unfold recorded some of that interaction on their cell phone. Body camera videos show one officer listening to the clip, where Brafford can be heard yelling “don’t **** with me! You and no one else on this airplane! Don’t **** with me, man!”
According to federal charging documents, Brafford’s alleged outburst came after he was accused of making unwanted advances toward a woman sitting next to him.
The victim shared her story with officers.
“I was kind of sleeping and then he starts going into my seat and playing footsies and trying to grab my sweater, grab my legs … just touch me, and … trying to ask me out, trying to ask me if I’m going to a hotel by myself tonight,” said the victim.
The onboard flight crew attempted to move the woman, but Brafford is accused of continuing to try to speak to the woman. One flight attendant told officers that he tried to stop Brafford.
“I asked him, I said, ‘You need you to just leave that gal alone, what you’re doing does not make her feel comfortable,’ and he immediately stood up in my face and started just cussing, just the f-word left and right,” said the flight attendant.
The outburst got the pilots to divert to Albuquerque where they kicked Brafford off the plane. Brafford was taken into federal custody.
Records show Brafford is from Texas, but he’s being held in New Mexico while his case plays out.
Interfering with a flight crew carries a hefty sentence of up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.