And that's really saying something, is the Transportation Security Administration.
John Santasieri and eight other New York City garbage collectors were among 46 passengers on the Oct. 6 flight from Newark to Milwaukee, carrying fans for the Packers-Bears game the next day, Rooney said.
An airline employee in New Jersey saw that Santasieri and his colleagues had been drinking.
"He promptly decided no alcohol would be served on the flight because these boys had had enough," Rooney said.
After the flight took off, Santasieri got up from his seat, ignoring a seat belt sign and the attendant's request to sit down, and entered the bathroom, Rooney said. The attendant went into the bathroom later and found Santasieri had urinated on the floor and covered it in toilet paper, he said.
"From there his behavior deteriorated," Rooney said.
Santasieri stood in the aisle and refused to sit down, Rooney said. He grabbed the attendant's tray of cookies and refused to let go. Santasieri mashed a cookie in the hand of the attendant, who was cleaning up trash.
Later, Santasieri grabbed the attendant from behind, holding him by the buttocks and legs, Rooney said. The flight attendant refused to go through the cabin for a final safety check.
Santasieri, of Staten Island, is charged with assaulting and intimidating a flight attendant, according to court documents. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Of course, if Santasieri had been a grandmother, or a guy named Ted Kennedy, or perhaps a kid wearing a Decepticon t-shirt, they'd have been all over him. The kicker is that in most cases the Transportation Safety Administration doesn't give a damn what happens on any flight coming into or out of Milwaukee. They don't want to take jurisdiction.
TSA was contacted, but the sergeant didn't convey the incident's seriousness, Rooney said.
"They made it sound like the airline wanted the guy embarrassed and escorted off the plane," he said. "We were not advised about the physical contact . . . They didn't do a real in-depth investigation."
Brooks, of the sheriff's office, disputed that.
"The sheriff says it was a big deal and they (TSA) should have sent someone over. What we did was tell them the facts as they were told to us by the parties involved. We are the first responders, and we turn it over . . . When that type of stuff happens on the plane, it is a big deal because you are literally held hostage in the sky."
I'm rather inclined to believe the Sheriff in Milwaukee here, because it's quite apparent, especially to policemen, that jurisdiction is going to be a problem for local authorities under a federal system that denies them the power to arrest for conduct occurring in other states, such as…somewhere in the sky between New Jersey and Wisconsin.
In the end, it took two weeks of badgering by the airline itself to get TSA to open a file on this creep, and almost half a year for charges to be filed. Disgraceful.