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Dallas Passenger Gets Small Fine for Airport Anti-Gay Tirade

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday January 15, 2015

The passenger who made headlines last October when he went on an anti-gay tirade, which ended in an arrest, at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, has been slapped with a small fine for the incident, the Dallas Morning News reports.

McCleish Christmas Benham, 27, who resides in Shelbyville, Tenn., was charged with public intoxication and simple assault during the Oct. 23, 2014 incident, where he screamed anti-gay rhetoric. But according to the newspaper, the Grapevine court administrator, Cindy Eteaki, Benham's case will be closed and he will pay a $474 fine.

The breakdown: $262 for the Class C misdemeanor assault charge and $212 for the public intoxication ticket.

"When he was arrested he posted a cash bond and signed a conditional plea of nolo contendere," Eteaki told the Dallas Morning News. This means that because Benham did not show up for his Nov. 26, 2014 court date, he's now in the process of forfeiting his bond and Eteaki is closing the case.

"And since he hasn't had any correspondence with the court, we're ready to enter that conditional plea of nolo contendere and forfeit the bond," Eteaki added.

The newspaper adds that it is still unclear as to why the Dallas / Fort Worth airport police did not charge Benham with more serious charges, "especially considering the fact an ankle appeared to have been broken in the pile-up following the attack," the paper writes.

The viral video, which currently has more than 5,100,000 views, shows a group of people taking down Benham, who launched into an anti-gay tirade and assaulted another man he thought was gay.

"Queers is what I'm upset about!" he said, pointing towards another man wearing a pink shirt. "This faggot right here." He then says something about taking photos before telling the man in the pink shirt to "shove it up your ass man! See how that feels!"

Right after making the remarks, the video shows Benham attacking the man in the pink shirt, kicking and hitting him on the head while he yells, "fucking queer." This sparks a group of bystanders to take action, including the man wearing the cowboy hat, lunging towards the irate man and pinning him to the ground.

"No way motherfucker," someone yells. "You ain't doing that fucking shit motherfucker."

"Let up man, it's going to go real bad, let up!" someone else tells the man.

Police soon intervene and handcuff Benham. At one point while he's down, he laughs before explaining himself.

"Let me tell you the reason why I did it: Because this is America, that's why," he tells the two black officers, adding something that sounds like, "the same reason you get to live and breathe and walk black."

According to the Dallas Voice, Benham has prior criminal charges against him, including theft and animal abuse. The newspaper reports he was arrested and jailed in September 2013 for property theft and in 2012 for "failure to appear."

He's also had troubles with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at least two times for violations of the Horse Protection Act for allegedly mistreating Tennessee Walking horses he was supposed to be training. He was charged for "soring" a horse in 2011 and was hit with the same "soring" charge in 2012 with a different horse.

According to the USDA, "soring" is, "a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse's gait. It is accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse's forelegs with chemical irritants (such as mustard oil) or mechanical devices."

Watch the attack below: