ATLANTA - An airport police supervisor said he makes every effort to be nice when dealing with a traveler who may be experiencing stress. If that does not work, then Sgt. Ed Baker said, he has to go to an alternative plan.
That generally describes what the veteran cop was faced with on May 1, when a woman traveling on Spirit Airlines was told she would have to get off a jet. Safira Allen had missed an earlier flight and was determined to get on board the next jet, according to Baker.
She refused to obey the instructions of the flight crew. On a Facebook Live post of the encounter, she is seen telling the crew "you'll have to call the people".
Baker said when the first officer arrived, Allen also rejected his order to leave.
The sergeant then went out and deployed a different strategy. He had the crew take all the other passengers off the plane before going on to deal with Allen.
She soon walked off the jet as requested. Baker said he thought the incident was over but said Allen turned violent after she was told to put her phone in her pocket.
Baker said the woman, who was by now on the ground about to be handcuffed, kicked him twice in the groin. But the police veteran kept his cool.
"It comes from training," Baker said, "if you lose your cool, your composure, you will lose the fight".