A spokesperson for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they arrested Preston Bluntson because he heckled Clarke on a two-hour flight from Milwaukee to Charlotte.
An anonymous passenger detailed what happened on the small aircraft Sept. 24 to the MJS.
“The guy was very abusive,” the passenger said. “Probably the last 20 minutes it really escalated and focused on Clarke.”
The passenger said 36-year-old Bluntson uttered a racial epithet continuously and accused Clarke of “closing our parks” and said the conservative sheriff is “not one of us.” Sheriff Clarke is widely known within the Black community as an advocate for Trump who pushes anti-Black policies.
A statement from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office obtained by the Charlotte Observer revealed Clarke took control an hour into the flight.
“The sheriff left his seat…and told the man to ‘chill out.’…The man continued his obnoxious behavior and on approach to landing he got out of his seat,” the statement read. “While the plane taxied to the gate he began taunting the sheriff, asking him what he was going to do about it.
“Clarke ordered him to sit down and when he refused. Clarke shoved the unruly passenger face down and pinned him against the seat and held him there until the flight arrived at the gate.”
After landing in North Carolina, several awaiting officers arrested Bluntson and charged him with intoxicated and disruptive behavior. After he stayed in custody for a day, authorities released Bluntson on bond Sept. 25.
Clarke released a statement a couple days after the incident stating he believes the incident should be reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office to send a message of deterrence to passengers about interfering with flight crews and intimidating passengers. He later appeared on Fox Business to retell the events with glee.