ATLANTA - A homeless man walked up to a female airport passenger and spat on her. The incident was unprovoked. That is what the passenger told police Sunday afternoon.
It happened on the taxi curb located on one end of the facility.
The assault alarmed police and airport workers because prior to now, street people have engaged in panhandling, but they did not touch the passengers.
Police arrested the man, identified as Danny McClain. They took him to the Clayton County Jail.
The airport has been plagued for months with many homeless acting out. They argue, curse and sometimes fight police who have had mixed signals from administrators on how they should treat this population.
A union representative for the police is highly critical of airport management.
Vince Champion believes leniency led to the spitting episode. When the female customer reported it, officers came up and saw what had been left from the act.
"You get what you get," said Champion. "The city charges the airlines a lot of money so they can operate. They [the airlines] need to look at what is going on with the homeless."
Before the Sunday attack, the airport announced a change in operating hours intended to better control access. Soon the facility will shut the doors at 11 p.m. except for staff and passengers.
But that can only be a partial solution. The passenger was attacked just before 4 p.m.