Phoenix Police arrest two women after the dispute diverted escape

PHOENIX (AP) – An American Airlines flight was diverted and two women were arrested in Phoenix after authorities said one of the women spat on a fellow passenger who urged them not to use racist slurs in their conversation and the other slapped his hand as he started recording you.

American Airlines announced that the flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Los Angeles was rerouted on Thursday at around 5.15 p.m. due to a dispute on the flight to Sky Harbor International Airport.

When the flight landed, Phoenix Police Department officers arrested Kelly Pichardo, 30, and Leeza Rodriguez, 29, both from Bronx, New York, saying they verbally and physically assaulted other passengers and crew.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said the women used racial slurs when a male passenger asked them to stop using the language. Pichardo allegedly spat on the man who then picked her up. Fortune said Rodriguez then slapped the man’s hand to keep him from recording.

Rodriguez is charged with assault and disorderly conduct, and Pichardo is charged with disorderly conduct.

The online court records did not reveal whether the women had lawyers to comment on the allegations on their behalf.

American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls described the women’s behavior as “disruptive and unacceptable” and said in a statement that they have been “placed on their internal waste list pending further investigation.”

The flight continued to Los Angeles and arrived without further incident.

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