- A Utah man was pepper-sprayed and arrested at OrlandoInternational Airport on Sunday before boarding a JetBlue Airways flight.
- According to multiple reports, 45 year-old Brandon Strong of Layton, Utah allegedly confronted both an airline employee and an airport police officer.
- In the official arrest affidavit obtained by Business Insider, the JetBlue crew member said she did not give Strong permission to touch her and that she wishes to press charges.
- In the official arrest affidavit, Officer Hajek writes, “The customer was clearly intoxicated and the alcohol could be smelled from five feet away.”
- Strong was booked on a variety of charges including battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer means of protection and communication, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence, child neglect, disorderly intoxication, and battery.
A Utah man was pepper-sprayed and arrested at Orlando International Airport before boarding a JetBlue Airways flight after allegedly having confronted both an airline employee and an airport police officer, according to multiple reports.
WFTV 9 ABC reports that on Sunday evening, 45-year-old Brandon Strong of Layton, Utah was waiting to board JetBlue Flight 801 flying from Orlando to Salt Lake City. Data from Flight Aware shows Flight 801 was delayed 2 hours and six minutes.
USA Today reports that Strong became agitated during the long flight delay, and allegedly harassed a female passenger.
WFTV ABC 9 reports that Strong “called a female passenger a vulgar name and that was when the JetBlue employee told strong he would not be allowed on the plane.”
According to USA Today, after being denied boarding privileges by the JetBlue gate agent, Strong allegedly tried to attack the female crew member, who was able to restrain Strong with the help of other passengers.
In the official arrest affidavit provided to Business Insider by the City of Orlando Police Department, the female crew member said in a sworn statement, “He pressed his iPad against my chest and pushed me. I pushed his hands away from my chest and he attempted to grab me. We wrestled, and myself and a couple of passengers tried to restrain him.”
The JetBlue crew member said she did not give him permission to touch her and that she wishes to press charges.
In a statement to Business Insider, a JetBlue spokesperson said, “Assistance by local law enforcement was requested by crew members at Orlando International Airport after a customer was denied boarding for indications of intoxication and became disruptive.”
Following this altercation, Officer Jason Hajek of the Orlando Police Department’s airport division arrived at the gate, where multiple passengers explained what had just happened with the JetBlue crew member.
In the official arrest affidavit, Officer Hajek writes, “I could detect the strong odor of the impurities of alcohol on his breath,” and that “the customer was clearly intoxicated and the alcohol could be smelled from five feet away.”
Officer Hajek asked Strong three times to drop his bags so they could not be used as a weapon, and when Strong refused to follow orders, Officer Hajek administered “one short bust” of pepper spray. Officer Hajek and Strong then wrestled violently to the ground as Officer Hajek informed Strong of his arrest and attempted to handcuff him.
Strong did not go quietly though.
In the arrest affidavit, Officer Hajek writes, “Strong intentionally ripped my radio microphone from my shoulder with such force that it also removed the radio itself from a secured holster.”
His statement then adds, “Strong then forcibly removed both of my extra magazines from their secured holsters on my external ballistic vest carrier, causing it to slide on the tile floor out of my reach.”
Eventually, Strong was subdued once other passengers physically aided Officer Hajek and fellow Officer Santelises arrived to “relieve the individuals assisting with Strong.”
WFTV 9 ABC reports Strong was taken by the officers to the Orlando County Jail and that the fire department had to be called to the airport to treat bystanders who had been affected by the chemicals from the pepper spray.
According to the arrest affidavit, Strong was booked on a variety of charges including battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer means of protection and communication, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence, disorderly intoxication and battery.
In addition to battery charges and resisting arrests, the arrest affidavit states Strong has also been booked on charges of child neglect, as his 8-year-old son was present during the altercation and had been left behind as he was arrested. JetBlue staff supervised the boy until he was flown back to Utah once police had contacted his mother.
Various moments of the incident were caught on mobile phone video and posted to social media.
— David Guffey (@GuffStuff) October 21, 2018
Currently at @mco in terminal A by gate 6 everyone is coughing and sneezing from the pepper spray. For those not following my previous tweets a drunk man got physical with a @JetBlue employee pic.twitter.com/fLolc0Bc9q
— Sam (@Slake03) October 21, 2018
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