Anticipating further pro-Trump protests and upheaval on Inauguration day—akin to January 6’s deadly incursion of the U.S. Capitol—Amtrak is asking for government protection of rail workers against threats and violent behavior from members of the public attempting to attend the event in Washington D.C.
Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a new legal enforcement order, under which disruptive and unruly passengers who demonstrate threatening or violent behavior aboard airplanes will be subject to massive fines and possible imprisonment.
Today, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn released a statement petitioning the federal government to designate threats and assaults against rail workers a federal crime with similarly severe punishments attached.
Flynn wrote in his statement:
“There is nothing more important than the safety of our employees. Since the start of the pandemic, our dedicated frontline employees have kept our trains running, providing a vital transportation service to essential workers. We join our labor partners in continuing to call upon Congress and the Administration to make assaults against rail workers a Federal crime, as it is for aviation workers, and to expand the TSA’s ‘No Fly List’ to rail passenger service.
“After last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are taking extra steps to continue ensuring the safety of our employees and customers in Washington D.C. and across our network as we prepare for the Inauguration. In addition to limiting ticket sales and requiring masks to be worn at all times, we are increasing our police enforcement to ensure strong compliance, remove noncomplying customers and ban those that don’t follow our policies. This includes deploying additional Amtrak Police officers onboard our trains and in our stations to support our frontline staff, and utilizing additional support from TSA and partner law enforcement agencies.
“The Amtrak Police Department is a member of the steering committee for the upcoming Inaugural Ceremonies and has prepared a robust strategy to secure our stations, trains and infrastructure. We also continue to work closely with and utilize the resources of our federal, state and local partners.”
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