Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Pilot’s assault arrest
a delayed decision

By Nelson Daranciang

The American Airlines pilot who was arrested for allegedly assaulting an airport security screener Thursday had already left the security checkpoint when law enforcement officers decided to arrest him, said Stanford Miyamoto, Honolulu Airport manager.

"I guess nobody realized the screener got injured until after he left," Miyamoto said, "Evidently, the supervisor saw (the screener) holding his eye."

Private law enforcement officers hired by the Transportation Security Administration caught up with the pilot at the gate, Miyamoto said.

They turned over pilot Harry Hartsough, 51, to deputy state sheriffs, who arrested him, took him to the Honolulu District Court cellblock downtown and charged him with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Sheriffs released him after he posted $100 bail. Hartsough left Honolulu Friday morning but must return for a Thursday court appearance.

Because it is both a personnel and security issue, American Airlines cannot comment on Hartsough's work status, said airline spokeswoman Tera Baten.

As for what the airline believes happened last Thursday, "We're still investigating," Baten said.

Hartsough tossed his shoes into the air after being asked to remove them when they set off a hand-held alarm at a security checkpoint, Miyamoto said. When the screener was bending down to pick up one of the shoes, Hartsough's coat may have caught the screener in the eye, causing a minor injury, he said.

Hartsough could have been charged with a federal crime since the airports are under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Security Administration. In that case he would have been held in custody at the federal detention center until a judge could set his bail at a detention hearing.

But the determination was made for the state to take jurisdiction, "I guess because it being an assault three, misdemeanor," Miyamoto said.

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