Last May Seth Stein was restrained on a flight by a fellow passenger who claimed to be a New York City police officer.
As he settled down with a book and a ginger ale, the father-of-three was grabbed from behind and held in a head-lock.”This guy just told me his name was Michael Wilk, that he was with the New York Police Department, that I’d been acting suspiciously and should stay calm. I could barely find my voice and couldn’t believe it was happening,” said Mr Stein.
American Airlines offered Stein $2000 to forget the incident, but later withdrew the offer. He could sue the airline, to be sure. However, it looks like Michael Wilk, the phantom passenger who subdued Stein, might be getting difficult to track down.
In a twist to the story, Mr Stein has since discovered that there is only one Michael Wilk on the NYPD’s official register of officers, but the man retired 25 years ago. Officials have told the architect that his assailant may work for another law enforcement agency but have refused to say which one.
It wouldn’t be unfair to reckon by about 50/50 odds that the character who identified himself as Michael Wilk is an air marshal. The Federal Air Marshal Service is, after all, chock full of knotheads. At best, it’s a waste of flesh and, at worst, it’s a menace.
Indeed, there is little to be admired in the way the Federal Air Marshal Service handles incidents. Their half-smart smoke and mirror spin tactics are contemptable and I find it a tad distressing that their incompentence is so well-tolerated by the media and the public, in general. It’ll be interesting to see how this case pans out.