Al D’Amato, Former Senator, Kicked Off Flight After Inciting Protest

When D’Amato refused crew members’ requests for him to leave the plane, Broward County sheriff’s deputies were called to escort him off the flight.A native of Brooklyn, D’Amato served in the Senate for almost two decades from 1981 to 1999.”We can still speak in this country”, D’Amato said in the video. As he was being escorted off the plane, D’Amato’s reaction was captured in two social media videos.JetBlue flight 1002 was delayed over 6 hours before it was on its way to JFK International in NY. “Stand up for what’s right and walk off with me”, he declared. Another video shot from a different angle and posted on Twitter captures passengers booing at D’Amato’s removal. D’Amato, who had allegedly been drinking wine at an airport bar before the incident, was in a regular seat but still took offense.The 79-year-old Republican ex-senator was in a regular seat and led a chant, “Make them move”. “That’s the only thing they’ll know”, he says. Some passengers actually followed him and others can be heard saying “should we do it?”It prompted the pilot and crew to ask those seated in the front of the plane to move to the back. The Post reported that passengers were each given $100 credit for the delay. D’Amato claimed during the incident that he was exercising his right to free speech.Reps for D’Amato told The New York Daily News that he lost his patience after the flight delays and “a long and demanding trip to Florida to visit an ailing friend”.”If a customer is causing a conflict on the aircraft, it is standard procedure to ask the customer to deplane, especially if the crew feels the situation runs a risk of escalation in-flight”, the airline said in a statement.A JetBlue representative could not be reached for comment. After his flight was delayed for almost seven hours, he confronted passengers who refused to move about the cabin after the pilot instructed them to do so in order to redistribute the plane’s weight before takeoff – an important safety feature.Known as “Senator Pothole” for his focus on small-scale concerns from constituents, went on to found the lobbying firm Park Strategies.