MIAMI – Two people were arrested Monday after they clashed with police officers at Miami International Airport, which is expecting a record number of passengers for the holiday season.
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, the men — Mayfrey Gregorio Serranopaca, 30, Kissimi, Fla., and Alberto Yanezsuarez, 32, Odessa, Texas — were each charged with battery at a law enforcement officer, which is investigating. . case. Mr Serranopaka also faces additional charges, including violently protesting an officer and inciting a riot.
Mr Serranopaca and Mr Yanez Suarez could not be reached on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether the men had lawyers.
The clash, captured in a cellphone video widely circulated on social media, happened around 6:30 pm on Monday, when officers answered a call from an airport employee about a disturbance at Gate H8.
According to an arrest report, the employee told police officers that he was driving a transport vehicle when a “furious passenger refused to let him go”. The report said the man, later identified as Mr Serranopka, “entered the car, broke the key and refused to exit the car.” The airport employee told police that the passenger had complained in Spanish about the delayed flight.
As officers tried to pacify Mr. Serranopka, a physical confrontation ensued, drawing a large crowd.
The video shows a chaotic crowd of passengers surrounding an officer who is seen restraining Mr. Serranopaka with his arms. When the officer released him from the hold, a scuffle broke out between the two.
At one point, the officer and Mr. Serranopaka parted, and Mr. Serranopaka charged at the officer, waving his arms.
The video shows the officer breaking up, retreating and pulling out a shotgun. As officers tried to arrest Mr Serranopaca, police said Mr Yanez Suarez was “holding and dragging the officers”.
Police said firefighters also reacted at the scene after Mr Serranopaka hit an officer on the head. Mr. Serranopaca and Mr. Yanez Suarez were both arrested.
The controversy comes as airports across the country are facing heavy holiday traffic. Driven by the highly permeable Omicron version, there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases, causing some to rethink their holiday plans, but millions of travelers on the move.
According to the AAA, more than 109 million Americans are expected to travel between December 23 and January 2, a 34 percent increase from the previous year. Airline passenger numbers alone are projected to increase by 184 percent from the previous year.
“Like airports across the country, MIA is seeing record-high passenger numbers this winter travel season,” Ralph Cutty, director and chief executive officer of Miami International Airport, said in a statement.
Miami airport said it expects about 2.6 million passengers – an average of about 156,000 per day – to pass through its gates from Tuesday to January 6, a 6 percent increase over the same period in 2019.
“Unfortunately, passenger growth has also come with a record-high increase in poor behavior across the country,” said Mr. Pyari, noting the controversy at the airport on Monday.
Mr Cutie said disruptive passengers could face arrest, civil penalties of up to $37,000, barred from flying and possible federal prosecution.
He urged people to “arrive extra early to airports, be patient, obey federal mask laws and airport staff, limit alcohol consumption, and notify police at the first sign of bad behavior by calling 911”. Urged to travel responsibly.