A Southwest Airlines flight from #LA to #Dallas ended up being diverted after a man on board tried to play an unwanted game of ‘footsie’ with a female passenger sitting next to him.
Justin Riley Brafford is in custody in #NewMexico facing felony interference with a flight crew and a misdemeanor assault charge. Brafford and the woman, identified as M.W., were seated next to each other on Flight 859 when he decided to put his arm on her leg. M.W. moved away but Brafford came in closer and began trying to play footsie with her. He also asked her to go out with him after the flight. The FBI reports states she asked Brafford to “stop kicking and bothering her” to which he responded by whispering, “don’t f*ck with me.”
The flight attendant on board assumed the two were together based on how close they were seated. Good thing about #Southwest though…unassigned seating. M.W. moved into another seat but Brafford followed, trying to offer her a drink. When the flight attendant noticed M.W. again, she was crying and explained to the attendant that Brafford was harassing her.
The official complaint read once the flight attendant spoke to Brafford, he went from “zero to sixty in nano-seconds,” and led the flight attendant to believe he might be on drugs. The pilot was immediately notified of the incident and made an emergency landing in Albuquerque, NM. He was arrested at the airport with no further incidents.
Brafford allegedly told authorities that he and the woman had been watching videos on her computer and he thought she was flirting with him. He also allegedly admitted to using methamphetamines the day before the flight and overdosing on heroin the previous Saturday and told the FBI that God was talking to him during the flight.
According to Daily Mail, Brafford faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The assault charge carries a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.