A traveler at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport last week who was captured on video assaulting a man at a ticket counter and yelling anti-gay slurs is a 27-year-old Tennessee resident, according to airport police reports released Tuesday.
McCleish Christmas Benham kicked the man in the groin and hit him on the head and then was tackled by five onlookers and an airport police officer.
A video of the incident had over 3.7 million hits on YouTube as of Tuesday.
The man who shot the video, Andrew Kennedy of Cincinnati, said he was waiting for a flight with his family when he heard a “loud and seemingly escalating commotion.” He walked over and started recording with his cellphone.
Benham, of Shelbyville, Tenn., was arrested at 6:46 p.m. Thursday near the ticket counter at Terminal C, Gate 30, police reported.
The DFW police report gave this account:
A complainant told officers that Benham had insulted an American Airlines gate agent and that he told Benham to calm down because police were on their way.
But a belligerent Benham cursed at the gate agent. She asked whether he had been drinking, and he said, “Yes, 100 drinks.”
Benham then turned his attention to the complainant, punching him in the right eye and calling him a gay slur. Benham then began threatening a different person.
The complainant again warned Benham to calm down because police were on their way.
When an airport officer arrived, he saw Benham talking to the first man and saw him kick the man in the groin and hit him on top of his head with a fist.
At that point, five onlookers and the officer tackled Benham.
While he was on the ground, Benham asked whether the people who tackled him wanted to know why he attacked the man.
“This is America — that’s why,” Benham said. “It’s the same reason you get to live, to breathe, to walk black. You know what I’m talking about.”
Benham faces charges of simple assault and public intoxication, according to police reports.
The man Benham attacked declined medical attention and had no visible marks or bruises, according to police reports.
One of the men who tackled Benham had an injured left ankle but continued with his flight, the police report said.
One of the other men who tackled Benham drew attention on social media when numerous publications identified him as actor Paul Rudd. The man has since been identified as 28-year-old Ben Kravit of Dallas, an associate brand manager for Dr Pepper.
Staff writer Monica S. Nagy contributed to this report.