Police arrested off-duty flight attendant Stephon Jamar Duncan (pictured) and charged him with assault and battery for his role in forcing a Delta flight from LA to Atlanta to land in Oklahoma City on Friday
Body-camera footage captured the moment an off-duty flight attendant was arrested after he forced a Delta plane to land early by seizing the intercom and threatening to bring the aircraft down.
Oklahoma police said they found Stephon Jamar Duncan, 34, flex cuffed and seated on the first row of the plane after plane crew and passengers worked to subdue him on Friday's tumultuous flight.
According to the arrest report, Duncan had been acting strangely on the flight, which was heading from Los Angeles to to Atlanta before being diverted to Oklahoma City due to his alleged outburst.
Delta confirmed that he was a flight attendant with the airline and said he was on leave at the time of the incident, according to the Oklahoman.
Crew members reported to police that Duncan was 'making statements about being seated next to a terrorist,' and had been stashing random items throughout the plane such as such as tennis balls with writing on them, trash and food.
At one point, according to the report, Duncan handed a note to a crew member telling them that he was based in Atlanta, and that they needed to alert Delta management and the pilot that there was a terrorist on board.
Oklahoma City police released body camera footage of Duncan's arrest
Police said they found Duncan flex cuffed near the front of the plane after crew and passengers worked to subdue him
Duncan then reportedly got on the plane's intercom and began making announcements, saying that that the plane was being taken over and would be going through turbulence as it went under 10,000 feet.
He also reportedly said 'he would take the plane down' police told Fox News early on Saturday.
When Duncan ignored orders from the crew to stop a fight broke out, and he began striking one crew member with his forearm and then choking another, off-duty crew member.
Police said Duncan was, 'out of control,' and crew began asking for help from passengers.
Video of the incident showed a number of people attempting to subdue Duncan, with the captain calling over the intercom for any strong men on board to assist.
Passenger Benjamin Curlee, 29, recalled another passenger who was seated next to Duncan, alleging that the 'very weird' man had even scribbled a note to flight attendants accusing the other passenger of being a hijacker.
Curlee recalled that passenger saying he 'felt very uncomfortable with the guy' who asked 'a lot of very personal questions' such as his name and the spelling, CNN reported.
Passengers on the packed flight described Duncan as acting strangely, and at one point said out loud that he was seated next to a terrorist
He then allegedly assaulted two flight attendants and 'was going to take the plane down,' police said
When the plane was still two hours from its destination, Curlee recalled the captain asking over the intercom for 'all able-bodied men please come to the front of the plane for an emergency.'
'I feared the worst. I prayed that God would protect my family in case I was gone,' Curlee told the outlet.
Curlee and a passenger next to him jumped from their seats to help but did not get because 'basically every man on the plane stepped up and was in the aisle,' he said.
'It was very tense, very adrenaline fueled,' Curlee said.
He said that minutes later he heard an announcement on the intercom telling passengers to return to their seats and prepare to put on their oxygen masks.
Oklahoma City police released a detailed report of the incident on Monday compiled from statements from crew and passengers
'That created quite a stir. People behind me were saying, 'Well, that's really bad.' I mean that only happens when the plane goes down,' he said.
There were no reported injuries on the flight, but one of the arresting officers reported that Duncan suffered an abrasion to his face.
Police said he also began complaining of chest pain and other ailments, and was taken to a hospital.
The FBI is currently investigating.
Video posted to Twitter shows Duncan man scuffling with others on the dark plane
There were no reported injuries, and the FBI is investigating
The incident came as the Federal Aviation Administration has worked to crack down on recent bouts of unruly passengers. Badly-behaved passengers can face up to $35,000 in fines or imprisonment.
The Federal Aviation Administration has received around 2,900 reports of 'unruly behavior by passengers' this year, CNN reported.
FAA spokeswoman Maria Njoku told the outlet that about 2,200 of those reports involved passengers 'refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate.'
She added that the FAA has identified 'potential violations' in 446 cases and 'initiated enforcement action' in 42 of them.
In a press release last month, the FAA said the agency 'is strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights or fail to obey flight crew instructions in violation of the FAA’s regulations or engage in conduct proscribed by federal law.'
Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement on Twitter that 'the situation is out of control.'
'Another horrific event on Delta, but across the industry reports of unruly pax (passengers) are up more than 60Xs this year. That’s just what’s getting reported. Flight Attendants are heroes, but we prefer not to be,' Nelson wrote.
The number of unruly passengers has been increasing as airline travel has started to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Data from the Transportation Security Administration shows that the agency screened 2,028,961 passengers on Friday - the highest number since March 7, 2020.
'The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country's resilience and the high level of confidence in COVID-19 counter measures,' acting TSA administrator Darby LaJoye said in a statement.
'TSA stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience.'