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Justice Dept. to prioritize prosecuting violence on flights

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Flight Attendant attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland is directing U.S. attorneys across the nation to swiftly prioritize prosecution of federal crimes that happen on commercial flights.

The directive comes as federal officials face a historic number of investigations into passenger behavior. The Federal Aviation Administration said earlier this month that it had launched 950 investigations into passenger behavior on flights this year.

Garland's memo, issued Wednesday, emphasizes the Justice Department is committed to aggressively prosecuting violent passengers who assault crew members or endanger the safety of other passengers. So far this year the FAA has reported dozens of incidents of unruly airline passengers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution.

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