A commercial pilot faces charges after allegedly tagging a Tallahassee, Florida airport wall with racist and pro-Donald Trump graffiti.
According to CNN, court documents showed that James Ellis Dees was charged with nine counts of criminal mischief after he confessed to writing such things as “#MAGA =NO NI**AS = No SPI**S” multiple times. The graffiti was discovered mainly in the airport bathrooms and a parking lot elevator.
Airport police approached Dees and questioned him about the graffiti early this month. When cops told Dees that he was identified as the writer after a camera was installed in the parking lot elevator where the graffiti was found, he admitted to some of the vandalism, according to court documents. Dees told the police officer that he had “been going through a ‘really tough time,’ and has anger issues.”
Cops released Dees after questioning him, and he “began to get on his flight, but then decided that he was not in the ‘right state of mind’ to fly a plane,” read court documents. He then departed from the terminal. Dees pleaded not guilty to the charges at his first court appearance on Jan. 9 and he waived his arraignment hearing.
Dees is no longer employed with Endeavor, a Delta subsidiary, said a Delta spokesperson. “These actions in no way reflect the values of Endeavor Air, and this individual is no longer employed by the airline,” the spokesperson told CNN.
According to an FAA database, Dees was given an airport transport pilot certificate in January 2013. The Tallahassee Police mentioned that 20 acts of graffiti were reported to its airport unit from December 2018 to December 2019. Most of the incidents were racist, four were in support of impeachment or against the President and one wasn’t identified. Dees confessed to all but one of the racist graffiti incidents, but to none of the other defacement. Cops say the total damages were below $200.
This isn’t the first time a pilot was caught in racist controversy this year. Back in February, five pilots were suspended for allegedly using racial slurs and offensive messages in emails, including the use of the N-word and nostalgic messages about a minstrel show that aired on British TV throughout the 1970s. A British Airways spokesperson released a statement about the incident, saying “We are appalled to learn of this behavior which does not reflect the values of our company.”