A man who was sacked by British pharmaceutical giant GSK after a video of him shouting racial slurs on an American Airlines flight went viral has been charged with assaulting a federal officer after he allegedly grabbed an air marshal’s throat and hit him around the head.
If found guilty, former GSK engineer Zachary Easterly faces a prison sentence of up to one year for what is believed to have been a drink-fuelled attack on the air marshal.
Easterly was filmed by a fellow passenger as flight attendants attempted to remove him from the Dallas-bound American Airlines flight before it departed from Philadelphia last Tuesday. Staffers had become alarmed at his level of intoxication and wanted him rebooked onto a later flight.
Flight attendants have been praised for their calm demeanour in dealing with Easterly as he made “copious use of the N-word” towards them and called his fellow passengers “liberal faggots”.
Easterly eventually got off the plane voluntarily but out of view of the camera, he allegedly continued to shout racial slurs at American Airlines staffers and threatened to kill an employee who was dealing with the situation.
A federal air marshal who was waiting to board another flight heard the commotion and found Easterly “screaming profanity and racial slurs” at airline employees according to an affidavit filed in court.
The air marshal identified himself as police and held up his law enforcement badge which he was wearing on a lanyard around his neck. Easterly allegedly grabbed the air marshal by his throat and tore the badge from his neck. He is then accused of striking the air marshal around the head.
An American Airlines waded in to help the air marshal and Easterly was taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs.
The air marshal sustained scratches to his forehead, throat and right elbow.
The Philadephia Inquirer reports that Easterly was convicted for driving under the influence in 2006 and 2018 and pleaded guilty to public drunkenness in 2009. GSK described Easterly’s behavior as “reprehensible” and quickly terminated his employment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.