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Chris Christie's niece bit and kicked deputies trying to escort her off a Spirit Airlines flight after she asked passengers who she thought were Latino if they were 'smuggling cocaine,' report says

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/4/2022 hgetahun@insider.com (Hannah Getahun)
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images © Provided by Business Insider Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
  • Shannon Epstein, the niece of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was arrested on Spirit Airlines. 
  • Epstein reportedly asked passengers she thought were Latino if they were carrying cocaine
  • Epstein had to be handcuffed to a wheelchair, The Times-Picayune reported.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's 25-year-old niece was arrested on a handful of charges, including six counts of battery, after causing a scene on a Spirit Airlines flight departing from Louis Armstrong International Airport on Thanksgiving Day, the Times-Picayune reported. 

Before the plane's departure for New Jersey, Shannon Epstein reportedly made passengers uncomfortable after asking a family she perceived to be Latino if they were "smuggling cocaine," Capt. Jason Rivarde of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office told the Times-Picayune. 

After employees requested she be removed from the flight, Epstein resisted and began struggling with deputies, the Times-Picayune reported.

Six deputies were injured, including one who was bit by Epstein. Another deputy was kicked in the groin, the outlet reported.

Epstein was eventually detained after seven deputies handcuffed her to a chair, but the politician's niece reportedly taunted law enforcement by telling them they would get in trouble for arresting her as a result of Christie's connections to former President Donald Trump, the outlet reported.

Epstein was released from Jefferson Parish Correctional Center the same day after paying $10,750 bail. She is set to appear in court on January 23. 

The case will most likely end up under the jurisdiction of a federal court, due to federal laws that pertain to passenger disruptions on planes.

The Jefferson Parish Police Department, Spirit Airlines, and representatives for Christie did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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