A video on social media of the incident shows Courtney Drummond yelling as he approaches the table and hits an employee. The video also shows the intervention of several employees.
The Atlanta Police Department, in a statement, said Drummond refused to comply with flight attendant rules while moving a Southwest flight from the gate to the tarmac.
Police said Drummond was asked to leave the flight after the plane was forced back to the gate due to his “aggressive behaviour”.
“After taking Mr. Drummond off the plane, he threatened a Southwestgate agent several times and eventually assaulted him,” police said.
Drummond was arrested on petty battery, battery and obstruction charges, and transferred to the Clayton County Jail.
“Southwest Airlines has zero tolerance for any kind of assault on our employees or customers,” the statement said. “As a result of this gratuitous attack, the individual has been denied travel with Southwest Airlines,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement.
Southwest Airlines also commended the actions of its employees “who responded to protect their colleagues during this unacceptable event” and thanked law enforcement for their response.
Drummond’s mother, Gwendolyn Foster, confirmed to CNN that her son is still in custody in Georgia, and has apologized for the incident.
“My heart goes out to everyone, those working at Southwest – they are in my prayers,” Foster said. “I’m sorry this happened and it caused it.” “He is from a pious family. My husband is a pastor of a church here.”
Foster said the family is sorry and “hardly affected” by the accident.
“I pray for the time to heal all wounds and to move on and continue to love each other as God loves us,” Foster said.
According to the Clayton County Jail Registry, Drummond is being held on three counts, and his bonds are worth $10,000 with a $1,600 fee.