Incident with Miami Airport police officer & passenger
Video footage emerged Monday evening of a physical altercation between a police officer and a passenger in Concourse H at Miami International Airport (MIA), during which the officer ended up pulling his gun on the passenger. Dozens of people gathered around and got involved in the incident, as one does when in Miami.
There wasn’t initially much context for what unfolded, though a new video that has been released since then gives us a better understanding of what happened. In this video, a passenger can be seen standing on a golf cart talking to a police officer. As the police officer walks away, the passenger grab’s the police officer’s wrist, clearly wanting him to not go anywhere.
Okay, grabbing a police officer’s wrist is probably never a good idea, as the police officer responds by violently hitting him and putting him in a chokehold. The passenger then tries to fight the cop, at which point he has a gun pulled on him. You can see this for yourself below.
The President of Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association (the union representing most cops), said the police officer was following protocols:
“He breaks off and it’s getting out of hand, so he draws his weapon. He stops the crowd and he re-holsters. He did nothing wrong and exactly what he is trained to do.”
What caused this confrontation?
The backstory to this incident is quite interesting. The 30 year old passenger in the above video was traveling on an Air Century charter flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The flight had been scheduled for 9AM, but had a massive delay due to a mechanical issue, and passengers weren’t getting any answers.
So at around 6:30PM, nearly 10 hours into the delay, the passenger tried to jump on the front of a golf cart, and snatched its key, causing it to break off in the cart’s keyhole. The golf cart was owned by Turkish Airlines and was transporting passengers.
Apparently he did this because he thought it would be the best way to get answers about the delay, since Air Century didn’t have any representatives at the gate. So he requested that the golf cart attendant get him someone from Air Century who could provide answers about the delay. At that point the golf cart operator radioed for police.
According to the police report, the officers tried to calm down the passenger. He allegedly became angrier, and at that point a crowd started to form. And that’s basically where the video starts, so the rest of the story we can make sense of.
The passenger ended up being arrested, and faces felony charges, including battery on a police officer, burglary, criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence, and more. His bond has been set at $39,000.
My take on this terrible situation
I can totally see how this situation got to this point. Of course the passengers were incredibly frustrated, being 9.5 hours into a delay with no answers as to what’s going on. Unfortunately that’s probably a risk when you book a charter airline with limited schedules, but of course people don’t typically think about that when they book their ticket.
The passenger shouldn’t have gotten so frustrated that he stopped a golf cart, because there’s nothing the golf cart attendant can do. I’m guessing he isn’t a terribly experienced traveler, and he didn’t realize that.
And then the police finally showed up. The passenger tried to grab the officer’s arm — which is of course a huge no-no — but rather than deescalating the situation, or at least giving the passenger a warning and telling the guy not to touch him, he full on fights the guy. And then unsurprisingly the irritated passenger has a fight or flight response, and ends up fighting the officer, leading to a gun being drawn (though wouldn’t a taser have done the trick?).
While fights at Miami Airport are a frequent occurrence, typically we don’t see police officers drawing guns, so this escalation is noteworthy in that regard. This incident unfolded when a flight was very delayed, and a passenger wanted answers. So he decided to stop a Turkish Airlines golf cart and demand answers about his delayed Air Century charter flight.
Police ended up being called, and things got physical after the passenger tried to grab the police officer’s arm, causing him to be hit and to be put in a chokehold. He then tried to fight back, leading to a gun being drawn, and then arrest.
What do you make of this incident?