By Miriam Raftery
September 3, 2015 (El Cajon) – Six soccer players from El Cajon face federal charges of disrupting a Southwest Airline flight from San Diego to Chicago. The flight was diverted and landed in Texas Monday after a confrontation between crew members and the passengers. If convicted of interfering with an airline flight, the young people could face up to 20 years in prison.
The federal complaint alleges that the young athletes in a Chaldean soccer league, all in their late teens or early 20s, used profanity, lunged at a flight attendant, and called her racist and a pig. But family and friends of those arrested say the dispute arose after flight attendants demanded that the players, all Iraqi-American Christians from El Cajon, stop talking in their native language. Some suggest racial profiling. Now another passenger has stepped forward to say he saw no altercation at all.