24 November 2022: Kenner, Louisiana

After being forcibly removed from an airplane for asking passengers who appeared to her to be Latino whether they were smuggling drugs, a niece of the former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bit, kicked and spit on Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies who were trying to detain her authorities said. The incident happened Thanksgiving Day at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Shannon Epstein, 25, boarded the Spirit Airlines flight to New Jersey and asked a family who were near her and whom she perceived to be Latino if they were “smuggling cocaine,” said Capt. Jason Rivarde, a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. Airline workers requested Epstein be removed from the plane as she became increasingly irate, and the plane, which had started to taxi to the runway, returned to the gate, Rivarde said of the incident. Epstein refused to exit the jet bridge into the terminal after deputies arrived to escort her off, Rivarde said. When they tried to arrest her, she became “extremely combative,” Rivarde said. In the scuffle, Epstein reportedly injured six deputies, biting one on the arm and breaking the skin, and kicking another in the groin, Rivarde said. They were treated onsite by paramedics. Epstein shouted that the deputies were going to lose their jobs or end up in jail, boasting that she was related to powerful people and that her uncle is a friend of former President Donald Trump, Rivarde said. Seven deputies were needed to handcuff Epstein to a wheelchair, so that she could be moved to the airport security office, Rivarde said. She continued to shout vulgarities and try to bite deputies, he added. Epstein was booked on six counts of battery of a police officer, three of disturbing the peace, one of resisting arrest by force and one of remaining after forbidden, Rivarde said. She paid $10,750 bail and was released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center later that day