A Delta airline passenger was arrested Wednesday after police reported he appeared to make anti-Semitic comments and a witness said he told Jews to “raise their hands” so he could identify them.
David Toaff, 37, was taken into custody Wednesday night by local law enforcement as he disembarked in Atlanta from Delta Flight 1822 that took off from Washington, D.C.
“Preliminary information indicates that while in flight to Atlanta a male began uttering anti-Semitic words to passengers aboard the aircraft,” Atlanta police said in a statement to NBC News.
Toaff may be Jewish himself, and it wasn’t immediately clear why he asked Jews on the flight to identify themselves. He appeared to be wearing a Jewish prayer shawl, or Tallith, when he was arrested.
When he was met by officers after the flight, he was extremely agitated, and insisted: “I’m not a bad person.” An apparently frightened Toaff referred to a “white guy with blue eyes” on the plane who was “just like Trump — he’s a Nazi!” he told the officers in a video of the encounter take by fellow passenger Jordan Dale.
Toaff told the police: “I did not do anything wrong. I’m not attacking anyone.”
He was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct and taken to the county jail, according to police.
Toaff’s Facebook page includes artwork from his father of Jerusalem. He also posted a news story about the deadly shooting last month at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Two people who said they knew Toaff noted in a response to Dale’s video on Twitter that he was a “good guy” and “kind,” and they were stunned by what happened.