According to the website of German tabloid Bild and other media outlets in Germany, the Polish politician landed at the airport under the heavy influence of alcohol. Customs employees asked Protasiewicz to provide indentification, and in response he lashed out at them in front of dozens of stunned passengers.
One eye witness said he indeed looked quite drunk as he yelled in English that he was from the European Union.
Policemen at the scene asked the official to join them at the local station, but Protasiewicz refused and tossed his suitcase on the nearby counter. Another eye witness said that at this point, he was handcuffed and led away.
Protasiewicz, who is one of 14 vice presidents of the European Parliament, enjoys diplomatic immunity, thus will likely avoid prosecution.
German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau reported Thursday that Protasiewicz said his outburst came after a customs official behaved in an impolite manner, using the German word "raus", which means "get out".
This prompted him, Protasiewicz said, to remind the customs officer of the terrorist leadership of the Nazis in his home country. He raised the issue of Auschwitz as he believed it would be "the best lesson in humility".
Protasiewicz denied that he was drunk, saying he had only had one glass of wine with his meal during his flight into Frankfurt.