Sources: Naomi Campbell 'Spat' at Cops

04/04/2008 at 09:35 AM EDT

Sources: Naomi Campbell 'Spat' at Cops
Naomi Campbell leaves the police station at London's Heathrow airport
Max Nash/AP
Naomi Campbell was released on bail just after midnight Friday – while London police ponder charges over her alleged airport assault.

The supermodel, 37, was arrested shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, when police were alerted to a disturbance onboard a plane at Heathrow Airport's problem-plagued Terminal 5.

Two sources tell PEOPLE the model spat at cops before being taken into custody for investigation of assaulting a police officer.

"The 37-year-old woman was released shortly after midnight on April 4," says a Scotland Yard rep.

The Blame Game

So what exactly went down on that plane? Depends on whom you ask.

In a statement, Campbell's reps pointed the finger at British Airways – and offered mitigating circumstances for the model's flare-up. "Naomi was flying to Los Angeles for a memorial service on Thursday, April 3rd," said her spokesperson. "She arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 in plenty of time, checked her two bags in and was told they would make the flight."

Once onboard the plane, the rep continued, "she was told one bag could not be found and was missing. BA decided to resolve this by insisting she leave the flight and then called the police to forcibly eject her."

(British Airways has had a public-relations black eye ever since the new terminal opened last week. More than 20,000 suitcases have log-jammed in the supposedly state-of-the-art facility, forcing many flight cancellations.)

But an airport source painted a different picture of the notoriously fiery model. "She was really obnoxious when she arrived at the check-in and because of that, they didn't let her into the VIP lounge," said the source, adding that the situation "really kicked off" when Campbell tried to board the plane with two large, hand-held bags.

"She was asked to have the second bag checked in and that set her off," the source told PEOPLE. "The aircrew had to call police. She threw a few things around the cabin and then spat at the cops."

A law enforcement officer confirmed the incident, which resulted in Campbell's being handcuffed and led away. "They tried to calm her but she lashed out at the cops, too," the officer tells PEOPLE. "The last straw was spitting."

Campbell's rep denied the airport's version of the model's luggage woes, but did not address the alleged spitting.

What's Next?

This is not Campbell's first run-in with the British police.

The previous incidents were "not taken into account during the airport arrest," said the police source. "But it will be considered in their decision if she should be charged."

Campbell is expected to return to Heathrow sometime in the next six weeks to learn if she will face a trial.

Last year, Campbell was forced to attend anger management classes and sentenced to five days of community service in New York City after pleading guilty to throwing a cell phone at her housekeeper.

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