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Rep. Bob Filner stormed into a United Airlines baggage office at Dulles International Airport, barged past other customers, screamed at employees and repeatedly pushed a female baggage worker, according to a criminal complaint.
“You can’t stop me!” the California Democrat yelled.
“The police can,” replied the baggage worker, Joanne Kay Kunkel.
Filner backed off only when he heard another employee on the phone with airport police, says the complaint, which offers more details on an Aug. 19 incident that resulted in misdemeanor assault and battery charges against Filner.
Filner was served Monday with a summons for an Oct. 2 court hearing on the incident. The complaint was subsequently filed in Loudoun County, Va., General District Court and released Thursday to The Associated Press.
It is based on a sworn statement from Kunkel, whose name had not previously been released, and was signed by a Loudoun County magistrate who found probable cause for charging Filner.
“Mr. Robert Filner came storming into our baggage office demanding help with his delayed baggage. He barged in front of a line, interrupting our business with other passengers. He is screaming,” the complaint begins.
It goes on to describe Filner trying to shove his way into an employee-only office as Kunkel tells him to stop and tries to block him by stretching out her arms. That’s when Filner tells Kunkel she can’t stop him, and she tells him that the police can.
“At this point I am yelling for co-workers to call the police,” the complaint continues. “He gets past me into the back office yelling at other agents. He again pushes me out of the way near the doorway. After hearing a co-worker on the phone with the (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority) dispatcher Mr. Filner leaves the office,” the complaint concludes.
Filner has said he was tired when the incident happened, and he’s described it as a misunderstanding and called the charges “ridiculous.” But he has declined to be interviewed and has not provided details of what happened.
Filner’s spokeswoman Amy Pond did not immediately respond to a phone call for comment Thursday.
Filner, an eight-term incumbent who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee, has displayed flashes of temper in the past.
About a year ago, he hurled obscenities at two Veterans Affairs officials after a briefing about the burglary of a laptop with military personnel information. The VA officials termed the briefing a “publicity stunt,” which angered Filner.