PHOTO: A Delta Air Lines Airbus A321. (photo by Paul Thompson)
A man accused of verbally and physically attacking a Delta Air Lines employee because she was Muslim was indicted Thursday on several charges, including hate crimes.
According to KTLA.com, 57-year-old Robin Rhodes was on his way home from a trip to Aruba in January when he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport and walked into the Delta Sky Lounge as he awaited his connecting flight to Worcester, Massachusetts.
Unprovoked, Rhodes allegedly went to the office of a Muslim employee and began yelling slurs and curses at the woman before kicking her in the leg. Another employee stepped in to allow the woman to avoid any further confrontation, but Rhodes followed her to the main desk and began hurling more slurs at the woman, including threats of deportation.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that Rhodes was indicted on charges of unlawful imprisonment, aggravated harassment and hate crimes. The report also states the employee sustained pain and redness in her right leg along with fear of physical injury and annoyance.
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The office of Rhodes’ attorney, Paul Goldberger, said the firm does not comment on pending litigation. As a result of the indictment, Rhodes was released on $50,000 bond and ordered to return to court in June.
If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.
Following the incident, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the new Transportation Worker Protection Act. The proposal would make “any assault against an airport worker a felony, punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison.”