Nashville/Davidson County Police Department
Adam Joseph Bartsch was removed from duty as a federal air marshal Thursday after he was taken off a Southwest Airlines flight at the Nashville airport.
A Tennessee grandfather preserved the evidence by grabbing the cellphone that police said a U.S. air marshal used to take pictures up female passengers' skirts at Nashville International Airport.
"I have a wife. I have a daughter, and I have a granddaughter. And I have zero tolerance for disrespect to any lady," Rey Collazo of La Vergne, Tenn., said Friday, a day after he spotted the man surreptitiously snapping the photos after they'd boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to Tampa, Fla.
Adam Joseph Bartsch, 28, of Rockville, Md., was free on bond Friday pending an appearance Nov. 14 in Metropolitan General Sessions Court on a disorderly conduct charge.
Police said Bartsch was on active duty as an air marshal for the Transportation Security Administration when he was arrested Thursday morning before the flight took off. The TSA said he had been relieved of duty and was "in the process" of being suspended or fired.
Air marshals pose as regular passengers to guard against attempted hijackings and other crimes. The Federal Air Marshal Service was transferred to the TSA from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Collazo told NBC station WSMV of Nashville that he was seated right next to Bartsch as Flight 3132 was preparing to take off.
"He did it at least three or four times," Collazo said. "After that, that's when I looked at him. I says, 'Man, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.'
"Taking pictures of ladies without them even knowing that you're doing that? That's bad," he told WSMV. "I mean, he's a law enforcement officer. C'mon!"
Collazo said he alerted the flight crew and grabbed the cellphone to keep the man from deleting the pictures.
According to a criminal complaint filed in General Sessions Court, Bartsch admitted taking the pictures. After his fellow passenger grabbed his phone, Bartsch ran away — straight into the arms of police, according to the affidavit.
The flight was delayed for about an hour.