‘I felt like an animal’: Passenger tasered and dragged off flight by police
A passenger has said he “felt like an animal”, after being tasered and dragged off a flight by police.
Bolic Bet Malou was travelling with his wife and one-year-old son on a Jetstar flight from Perth to Melbourne when the incident occurred on 18 March.
During the check-in process, the family were told they’d be travelling on a smaller plane than the aircraft originally scheduled.
Mr Malou alleges that after sitting with his wife and son during boarding, a flight attendant said he was in the wrong seat.
After initially agreeing it was fine for Mr Malou to remain in this seat, the flight attendant later returned and asked that he move.
Mr Malou was then seen by other passengers explaining the situation to crew members, but it is alleged that the discussion quickly “escalated”.
Australian Federal Police officers subsequently boarded the plane and used a taser on Mr Malou, after trying to remove him from the flight.
In a video obtained by 9 News, Mr Malou is heard being told by officers: “Stop resisting”.
The passenger is seen screaming as the taser is used on him, and placed in a headlock in front of his wife and son.
“You’ve failed to comply with aircraft instructions. I need you to come with me right now,” one of the AFP officers is heard saying.
Mr Malou later told 9 News’ Today programme the flight attendant “never told me the policies of the plane”, and that “had she told me the policies I would have followed the policy.”
“I was tasered and carried out of the place,” he said to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I felt like an animal, it doesn’t feel great in front of your one-year-old son.”
Fellow passengerJaeris Vansson told 9 News: “At no stage was he being physically or verbally aggressive towards anyone.
“It just escalated so fast. It went from like just this argument with staff to this guy screaming at the top of his lungs being tasered.
“It was very violent and very sudden. Even I was shaking.”
Another passenger, named Jordan, also told the Today show: “I think it got completely blown out of proportion,” adding that Mr Malou was being “quite reasonable.”
Mr Malou has been charged with assaulting a police officer, obstructing a public officer and disorderly behaviour in a public place. He could now face up to seven years in prison for all three offences.
An AFP spokespoerson said: “Police were required to deploy a taser in order to restrain and arrest the man. Three AFP officers sustained minor injuries that were later treated. A second passenger who was travelling with the man was also escorted off the plane.”
AFP Acting Superintendent Shone Davis said: “Choosing to behave poorly on a flight not only affects your travel plans, but also those of potentially hundreds of other people.
“This is why the AFP has no tolerance for poor behaviour in our airports or on aircraft.”
A spokesperson for Jetstar told The Independent: “The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and while the vast majority of our customers behave well, we have zero tolerance for those who don’t.
“Our crew called the AFP for assistance when a customer became abusive towards our crew, repeatedly refusing to follow their instructions to move to his assigned seat.
“For safety reasons under aviation regulations, passengers must remain in their allocated seat for take-off and landing and comply with cabin crew instructions at all times.
“The AFP removed two customers from the aircraft, and one was later arrested. After checking on the welfare of the remaining customers and crew on board, the flight departed Perth approximately one hour after its scheduled departure time.
“We thank passengers for their patience as our crew worked with the AFP to manage the situation.”