An off-duty police officer was arrested at a Florida airport Friday after he attacked a flight attendant and his own son.
According to WFLA.com, 51-year-old Derrick Gilbert was boarding an Allegiant Air flight from St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport to Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, when the incident occurred.
Allegiant employees told police Gilbert appeared drunk on the plane and they asked him to get off the plane. After refusing for a short time, he eventually relented and started walking off the plane.
As Gilbert was leaving the plane, witnesses claim he shoved a 25-year-old Allegiant flight attendant and grabbed his 18-year-old son “by the neck in an angry manner.” Police arrived at the airport at around 6:30 p.m. local time and found Gilbert on the terminal ramp.
Officers said Gilbert smelled like alcohol and had bloodshot eyes as he yelled profanities at airline employees. Police told the man to leave the area, and when he refused, he was arrested and charged with trespassing, battery and domestic battery.
Gilbert told officers he shouldn’t be arrested since he worked for the Sarasota Police Department.
An official from the Sarasota Police Department said Gilbert would be placed on administrative leave with pay once he was released from jail. Officials revealed an internal investigation is also underway.
“We hold our officers to the highest standard of both professionalism on and off duty,” Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said. “I’ve instructed our Internal Affairs Division to conduct a thorough investigation. We will diligently investigate this incident per our policies.”
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