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Passenger allegedly bites 2 TSA agents at DIA, agency reminded travelers to remain 'respectful'

A TSA spokesperson says the incident happened June 14
Passenger allegedly bites two TSA agents at DIA, agency reminded travelers to remain 'respectful'
Posted at 11:44 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 01:37:39-04

DENVER — Travelers are being asked "to remain calm and respectful" by the Transportation Security Administration following two reported assaults against agents this month, one of which happened at Denver International Airport.

A TSA spokesperson said the incident happened on June 14 when a traveler allegedly bit two TSA agents.

According to a press release issued on Thursday, the incident is still under investigation, but the traveler could face a potential civil penalty of up to $13,910 for each violation of TSA security requirements.

The Denver Police Department arrested 29-year-old Keswan Hawkins, who faces charges in connection to the incident, which include second-degree assault and second-degree assault on a peace officer.

A heavily redacted probable cause document released Friday says a Denver police officer responded to a report of someone being uncooperative with TSA agents. The defendant, Hawkins, allegedly tried to go through the x-ray monitor, was advised by TSA he couldn't go through and then he "swung at the TSA agent with a closed punch." The officer put his arm in Hawkins' chest to prevent him from hitting the TSA agent, at which time Hawkins began screaming, the document says.

A struggle ensued, and Hawkins hit an agent in the mouth. During the struggle he also bit both TSA agents in the leg, according to the document.

The spokesperson said the incident in Denver is one of more than 69 occurrences across the country involving TSA employees being physically assaulted.

According to court documents, on June 17, Jeffrey Hiers punched and choked a Southwest flight attendant on the concourse train inside DIA.

In March, Landon Perry Grier was arrested and charged with a federal count of interfering with a flight crew after he allegedly refused to wear a mask and urinated in his seat while on a flight from Seattle to Denver.

In response to the uptick of unruly passengers, beginning in July, Federal Air Marshals will lead flight crew self-defense training.