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Filner Ends Silence on Assault And Battery Charge

Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) finally released a statement today about his Aug. 19 arrest at Washington Dulles International Airport following an altercation he allegedly had with a United Airlines baggage employee.

"I was tired after a delayed flight and frustrated by the subsequent further delay of the entire flight's baggage," Filner said, ending his 10-day silence on the matter. "But I did not want things to turn out as they did, with offense obviously taken and much misunderstanding. This is an episode that I regret and hope to move beyond."

Filner was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery after police say he "pushed aside the employee's outstretched arm and refused to leave the area when asked by an airline employee."

The congressman, who turns 65 next week, told a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune that the airlines are driving him and everyone else pretty crazy these days with the chronic delays and lost luggage. "You've got a group of people who think you're misusing your position as a congressman and you've got a group of people who understand the airlines are so (pause) -- so dismissive of their customers that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."

But Filner said he didn't want to discuss details. He offered, "It never happened. I haven't touched somebody in 65 years violently -- including my kids!"

Filner is scheduled to appear in Loudoun County General District Court on Oct. 2.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  August 29, 2007; 1:54 PM ET
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Larry Craig is the best thing that ever happened to bob Filner.

Posted by: Larry | August 29, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Did Congressman Filner take a WIDE STANCE when he pushed aside the airline employee?

I think most travelers would agree that an increasing number of airline employees often hide behind the cloak of "security" to justify rudeness, poor service, and high-handed treatment of passengers. The Congressman will elicit ample sympathy from fellow airline passengers.

Posted by: Henly | August 29, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

No, he most assuredly WILL NOT gain sympathy from his fellow airline passengers, and I am very glad to hear that the airline employee in question pressed charges, and I Filner goes to trial on the issues, and serves a bit of jail time to teach his sorry ass a lesson. He willingly tried to use the power of his position in an arrogant and unlawful way-he is NOT allowed to push airline employees and NOT allowed to stampede his way through an area marked "employees only"- if everyone could do that, then there would be no reason to have any security in place whatsoever-one has to realize that at a large international airport security is there for a reason, and if you want to act like a petulant little child and break the rules, then BY GOD, you'll get the rulebook thrown at you-and it is ONLY what the old fart deserves!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I would love to hear United's outrage when their own employees get pushy with customers. I hope Filner wins in court, if only to send the airlines the message that they simply canNOT keep dismissing (and the IS the right word) customers' legitimate concerns.

Posted by: valentine | August 29, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

What an idiotic comment, valentine. How about this: just don't fly. Seriously. If airline operations bother you so much, you always have a choice within the US, Canada, and Mexico: drive, or take a train.

I've never seen United Airlines dismiss a customer complaint in some 30 years of flying United, but it's obvious you don't have enough brain power to understand that Filner violated the law when he "pushed" the employee out of the way, and entered an area forbidden for pax. I suppose you condone that sort of conduct? Would you also condone that sort of conduct in an office environment, I wonder? Something tells me you wouldn't. And if someone intent on getting past security and inserting an IED in an airport environment were to "push past" an airline employee to carry out the criminal action of trying to commit injury or death to you, a passenger, would that be acceptable too? But it's because he's a Congressman, right? He's allowed to break the rules?

Sheesh! Get real, lady!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse


Ha! Ha! You're the kind of pax I wish Captains were allowed to throw off airplanes the minute they start making "all about me" noises-and I'm quite sure you feel entitled to take up as much of the overhead storage space as you can get, and become absolutely indignant when you don't get it, as well!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Ha. The indignant airline employee above simply proves Henly's point.

Posted by: just another "pax" | August 29, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Anyone here actually see what happened?

Posted by: Pat | August 29, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Pax. That's cool, three letters shorter than "people." I'm going to start trying to use it every sentence.

The guy said he didn't push the employee. Despite the fact that he's a Congressman, maybe he's telling the truth. And he's right, I've spend many a night at Dulles waiting for luggage that never came, trying to deal with employees who don't seem to think that I should be bothered by the fact that, you know, I don't have my stuff. It's very frustrating, and I can see why someone that's wound a little too tight could get a little over excited.

Good night, Pax.

Posted by: mike | August 29, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

All you reporters forget about the veterans. Our government needs corrections but how /
Arrest a 100% disabled veteran for medical care. 8-29-07
Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824 603-659-6217
Am I crazy or is the system in need of corrections. I am rated 120% disabled from 3 disabilities received at separate times. Two were received during Combat support missions. I survived 8 convoys as American Advisor. I have been haunted by flashbacks since my return to the "world" in 1974 of my first kill. My Veteran's medical care has been stopped for political reasons. The news refuses to inform the people. It was my job to kill. I at 17 quit school and joined the Marine Corps. I did 31 months over seas. There is no record of what I did because no one wanted to know. I survived 8 convoys as an American Advisor. As my wife says "I have no emotions". You do not think it is a struggle to survive every day in a world where killing is wrong. You people have no idea the confusing state all your conflicting norms produce. I woke up in a military hospital after a traumatic brain injury. I remembered nothing to this day. I had the mind of an infant. Because of an administration error I was sent back to active duty with the mind of an infant. I was injured twice more in separate combat support missions. I volunteer my time in 1999 to help a Madbury NH family that called me out of the blue for help. I saw wrongs committed by the Madbury NH selectmen. I volunteer to help correct these wrongs. Judge Peter Fauver violates the Constitution many times to intentionally harm this Madbury family. I take the case to the NH supreme court case 2003-0477. They refuse to hear a case which questions the integrity of the NH judicial system. The NH governor uses the NH state police to intimidate my wife at work and home. The NH government commits many illegal acts to stop me. They all fail to scare me. Now they use Congress woman Shea-Porter to stop my VA medical. I have no emotion. What you do to me does not matter. I as a Sgt in the Marine Corps sent men to their death. I will not let what they died for be in vain. Is the news media so blind that they will let a nation dissolve to protect these son of a "bit ". You stopped my medical. You have no idea what you are taking on. I believe in the United States of America. I have tried to talk with you. You that never served refuse to meet. I have tried to use the VFW and American Legion but they are scared to help. I can go to the Manchester NH Veterans Hospital but I need to call in advance for an armed guard. Can you imagine what will happen if I have a flash back at this time. I am reluctant to make an appointment. I will not be violent to any United States Citizen. Did I wake up in a world that I do not belong. Is the system in need of corrections so bad that everyone is scare to speak. I am crazy because I believed the government was here to serve the people not master them.
Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi.

Posted by: Peter Macdonald, Lee NH | August 30, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Why does Mr Filner think he shall be treated differently as any other citizen of the US. We shall
be proud if he will not. On the other hand airports
are high risk aerea in every respect,so basic self -constraint is to be required even from senators etc
thank you for your attention

Posted by: anonymous | August 30, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I just flew from my home state of NC to Cinn, Ohio here 2 weeks ago. I flew Delta. I will honestly say that all of my issues were handled promptly and with a smile. Now, I didn't have but 1 or 2 very minor issues, but I still received good service. All of my flights were delayed, but's Delta! Oh well, just more time to spend there in the bar before the flight.

In all seriousness, though. If Filner pushed this guy, he really should be charged and convicted. I'm sure that person could win a civil suite against him as well. Just b/c he's a congressman he can't forget that he puts his pants on the same way the rest of us do...1 leg at a time. He can't go around abusing people b/c he's in a position of power. First Cynthia McKinny and Mark Foley found this out and now rep. Filner is finding it out. They will learn!

Posted by: reason | August 30, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't these guys be placed on the no-fly list? Perhaps it's a moot point; they probably won't need to commute to D.C. after the next election.

Posted by: fjc | August 30, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a former constituent of "bombastic bob," I can assure you that this incident in no way affects his chances at re-election.

In fact, I'd put money on the fact that he's even more popular back in SD and Imperial County after this.

Who hasn't wanted to throttle a belligerent and abusive airline employee. Those nickelnuts are at the bottom of the karmic totem pole, right along with TSA guards (i.e. overpaid rentacops).

Bob, whenever I'm back in the Valley I'm buying Pacificos all around at the next CofC event!


Posted by: vincente | August 30, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It's sad that so many of our so-called public servants lose sight that the only power and authority they have is that given to them by the people. So he has something important to do--don't we all? Today you can be whereever you want, at any time you want, by PC, by Internet, by cell phone. There is no excuse for abusing people, even if you think you're one of God's elect!

Posted by: Joe d'Argent | August 30, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am on Filner's side because i know how the airport works because I fly a lot and the service and the employee could be better and the whole process of getting you to your airplane takes hours and no matter how long the flight is the amount of stress that is put on you is very annoying and an airport employee saying what you can do and can't do and telling you to get lost is the last thing you need. The lost luggage and tedious interruptions by security and airport staff are very idiotic to say the least. I am not saying to remove all security but couldn't they speed up the process? If they did then there wouldn't be any situations like the one involving Filner. For me, just thinking about flying makes me want to punch someone, Filner has to think about politics and flying i am sure he just needed to let off some steam. I for one think that he should be left alone and given some time to rest. For the 10 day silence, he just probably didn't want to talk about it and I'm pretty sure he feels bad as it is.

Posted by: somemongolianguy | August 30, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dick | September 4, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

From my observation of morality/sexual behavior issues covered in the media, it appears that Democraps/Liberals don't think that behavior that most of us think of as scandalous is really important unless Repulsican/Conservatives are the perpetrators. This is because their voter base does not respond as negatively to scandals among their own, but they know very well how to use scandalous behavior by Repulsican/Conservatives against that voter base. If your voter base thinks that a so called immoral act is no big deal there is little consequence. Just ask Bill & Barney. The simple fact is that being a liberal (to many, not all) means that unethical/criminal personal behavior that does not endanger liberal political goals is either acceptable or forgiveable.

Posted by: r man | September 5, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I have seen how heavy handed the airlines have been with both customer service and security lately in order to justify their poor performance. I don't care whether the congressman has a D or an R next to his name. I just hope he goes into court and kicks butt.

Posted by: Steve O | September 5, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

well I find myself with mixed bag of emotions as read the responses above because there right in some way politics ,airlines,war we are all to blame for what we are becoming we take the attitude let someone else do it or whats in it for me that way we don't have take any blame when something goes wrong its always easier to blame the other guy even though we allow a rights as indviduals to slowly fade away be careful what you wish for you might just get it

Posted by: dragon | September 6, 2007 6:06 AM | Report abuse

I think Peter MacDonald has mental problems.

Posted by: smizgala | September 6, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I empathize with Rep. Bob Filner, because when you're well known if you merely look at someone it's news. On the other hand, why are we more lenient on celebrities than other, regular people. Filner will probably do almost no jail time, for something that could have gotten someone else a month to 6 for. I do sympathize with Filner, though, because it's hard getting all that attention.

Posted by: colorado skiier | September 6, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Seems like these days and times are when they are trying to get Senators and Congressmen in trouble, airport personnel in my opinion need a little shoving at times, they take their job to their heads. They are overpaid, and under worked and think they are the big boss at the airport, Thank you Mr. Filner for putting them in their place. Note: Stay out of those airport restrooms, they are out to get you in trouble, the cops should be out chasing criminals not watching people take a crap.

Posted by: Harold D. Kilburn | September 7, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The airlines are like all other brain-dead corporations from Home Depot to Chase Bank. It used to be that just the Phone Company could say "We don't care because we don't have to" but now that all-but-the-biggest have essentially been forced out of business, customer service means nothing and it shows. The other day a customer service representative at a credit card company answered the 800-number by telling me to wait a minute. A few minutes later I asked "what am I waiting for?" and he hung up on me. This is customer service in today's world. The giant corporations have us by the balls and our law makers just keep empowering them. What a wonderful life.

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