A plane passenger slapped a federal air marshal after refusing to sit down and ignoring instructions to end her cellular phone call, which she said would have been “rude,” prosecutors said Tuesday.
According to prosecutors, Belkova refused flight attendants’ instructions to turn off her cell phone as Flight 26 taxied for takeoff, saying: “It is rude to hang up on people. I don’t have to turn my phone off.”
After ignoring more flight crew instructions, one of two air marshals ordered Belkova to be seated and put a hand on her shoulder to show her where to sit.
Belkova reached back and slapped the marshal across the face, causing “minor swelling,” according to court papers. She was handcuffed and taken off the plane.
Now, obviously, one can’t go around slapping people. But aren’t the air marshals on the plane to thwart terrorists, rather than act as phone nannies? If so, didn’t this marshal jeopardize his primary mission in this case by revealing himself to potential terrorists on the plane?