Joanne Kunkel admits she was at least intimidated by the power of Filner's position but doesn't regret her decision to press charges. NBC 7's Dave Summers reports.
A woman who filed assault charges against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner six years ago spoke exclusively to NBC 7 about the current allegations against Filner and the "bullying" behavior she witnessed.
In 2007, United Airlines customer service representative Joanne Kunkel filed an assault and battery complaint against then-U.S. Rep. Bob Filner after an incident at Dulles Airport.
“For me it was personal intimidation and bullying,” Kunkel said. “And I think that is how he has gotten to where he is.”
As he complained about lost luggage, Filner lost his temper, barged past a long line of passengers and right through customer service.
“I had my arm out to block him from coming in he pushed right through me and pushed my arms out of the way,” Kunkel said.
“His face was just bright red enraged. I was scared and everyone else was like ‘Is this really happening,’” Kunkel said.
It was the airport rage case heard round the world. Filner was charged with assault and battery. Only to effectively plead no contest to the lesser charge of trespassing for which he paid a $100 fine and was ordered to apologize to Kunkel.
Not satisfied, Kunkel agreed to tell her story in this political ad. Filner's opponent Carl Demaio ran it two weeks before the election.
Kunkel found the apology she got insincere.
“Very similar to the apology I saw on TV last week," Kunkel said referring to the videotaped statement Filner made in response to allegations of sexual harassment. "Obviously written by somebody else."
Kunkel is still working the baggage service center six years later and had plenty to say about current allegations against Mayor Filner.
“It doesn't surprise me. It does not surprise me,” Kunkel said.
“He has a control issue and definitely a short temper as far as what I saw,” Kunkel said.
Mayor Filner has admitted to disrespecting women in the past and at times intimidating them.
Those calling for his resignation claim the mayor has a pattern of behavior toward women that includes asking them if they are married or dating anyone, isolating them from others and then forcing affection on them through kissing or even groping.
The mayor has not addressed those specific allegations but has asked that the anonymous accusers file a claim so he can have due process.
Kunkel admits she was at least intimidated by the power of Filner's position but doesn't regret her decision to press charges.
“I was just trying to do my job. I wouldn't let anybody do that today and even if it's “Joe Schmo” off the street,” Kunkel said.
At the time of the incident, Filner said he did not get physical with Kunkel, and denied receiving special treatment. He did admit to walking back into the employee only area.
Mayor Filner has declined NBC 7’s repeated requests for an interview.