A Florida commercial pilot has lost his job and is facing charges after he was caught writing racist graffiti in airport bathrooms and an elevator.
James Ellis Dees, 53, was charged with nine counts of criminal mischief for writing slurs toward Black people and Latinos in a parking deck elevator and airport bathrooms at Tallahassee International Airport.
He reportedly admitted to writing “#MAGA =NO N——S =NO SP–S” earlier this month after Tallahassee police informed him they had footage of the incidents. The footage showed Dees entering the elevator around 4 p.m. on Dec. 14, according to WCTV. He looked toward the camera before he began writing. Dees reportedly proofread his work after he was done. After he departed, other people entered the elevator and commented on the writings. The pilot admitted he’d written on the walls almost a dozen times.
Dees also told investigators he was “going through a ‘really tough time’ and has anger issues.” After he was released from questioning, he began to walk to his flight but decided he was not in the “right state of mind” to fly a plane at the last minute. Dees later told police he was a “responsible person” and wanted to move on from the incident.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Jan. 9 and waived his right to an arraignment hearing. Dees was employed as a commercial pilot for Endeavor Airlines, a subsidiary of Delta. A Delta spokesperson told CNN Dees no longer works for the company.
“These actions in no way reflect the values of Endeavor Air, and this individual is no longer employed by the airline,” the spokesperson said.
Twenty graffiti-related incidents at the Tallahassee International Airport were reported to local police last year. Most of them were racist, and Dees reportedly admitted to all but one. Four more were pro-impeachment and spoke negatively of President Donald Trump.
The damages related to the vandalism cost less than $200.