Delta Air Lines Guard Allegedly Punched in Face, Beaten With Own Radio By 3 Passengers

Three New York women are facing federal charges in the assault of a Delta Air Lines employee at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after he told them they could not board a plane.

A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York released on Thursday detailed the September 22 incident. Jordan Nixon, 21, Janessa Torres, 21, and Johara Zavala, 44, were supposed to be on a Delta flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, but appeared too intoxicated to board.

According to the New York Daily News, prosecutors said the flight had been delayed from morning to midday, so the three women killed time by ordering nine drinks at an airport bar. By the time they reached their gate, they were visibly drunk. Authorities said Zavala had trouble walking and Nixon smelled of alcohol.

The attorney's office statement said they were "belligerent" and "visibly disoriented," and one of the women refused to wear a face mask.

After a Delta gate employee informed the rest of the flight crew of the state the women were reportedly in, it was determined that they could not board the plane. They called a security officer to inform them.

According to prosecutors, the officer told them they were not allowed on the flight but could rebook for later in the day. The statement said they began to yell and curse at him, refusing to leave the jetway.

Nixon then began to tap on the officer's head and removed his radio, which had been clipped to him, prosecutors said. Then, she began to strike the officer with his radio as "he struggled unsuccessfully to regain control of it," a memo from prosecutors to the judge said.

Prosecutors added that Zavala punched a gate employee in the face after the employee attempted to stop the violence. All three then began to attack the officer while he was on the floor, with Torres stepping on his face, the Daily News reported.

Other employees were eventually able to bring the officer behind a glass pane to shield him from the trio, prosecutors said. The statement added that the officer and gate employee went to a hospital for treatment. Neither has returned to work.

The statement said the three women were arrested on Thursday morning. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison.

The Associated Press reported the three were released on $25,000 bond each after their Thursday arraignment in federal court.

Peter Guadagnino, Nixon's attorney, said she pleaded not guilty, adding that she was also charged in Queens state court and the prosecution dismissed the case.

"My client maintains her innocence and she denies the allegations as delineated in the government's indictment... She maintains her innocence throughout the process and we are waiting to see what discovery comes our way and what if anything is recorded with respect to the incident," Guadagnino said in an email to Newsweek.

Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, called the alleged behavior "out of control" in the statement.

"This Office has zero tolerance for violent conduct that threatens the safety of airline passengers and employees and will prosecute defendants who allegedly engage in such conduct to the fullest extent of the law," Peace said.

Delta Air Lines, New York, JFK
Three women have been charged in the assault of a Delta Air Lines security officer at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Above, Delta aircraft on the tarmac at JFK Airport on December 24, 2021. Photo by Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images