Miami, FL – A massive brawl erupted between travelers and police at Miami International Airport Monday night after an unruly passenger became enraged over a delayed charter flight and bit an officer’s head, according to police (video below).
The incident occurred at gate H8 shortly after 6:30 p.m., when an employee contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) to report a disturbance, WTVJ reported.
The employee told police he was driving a transport cart through the area when an “unruly passenger” blocked his path and jumped into the vehicle.
The passenger, later identified as 30-year-old Mayfrer Gregorio Serranopaca, grabbed the cart key and broke it, then refused to get out, according to the employee.
Witnesses said the suspect was upset after his flight was delayed 12 hours and then canceled, according to WGN.
Serranopaca was still inside the cart when MDPD officers arrived, WTVJ reported.
Police said the officers tried to calm the irate suspect down, but that he refused to cooperate.
Details regarding how the situation escalated have not been released.
A widely-circulated cell phone clip captured a portion of the ensuing brawl after it was already underway.
The video showed a mob of yelling and screaming travelers surrounding a MDPD officer as he struggled to retain his hold on a suspect from behind.
Some members of the crowd appeared to try to free the suspect by pulling him away from the officer.
The officer ultimately released his grip on the suspect, who subsequently began swinging on him.
The officer was able to back away and drew a weapon as at least one person in the crowd tried to step between the suspect and the officer, the video showed.
The officer could be seen talking on his radio as the angry mob surrounded him and recorded the scene with their phones.
Additional officers responded to the area and took Serranopaca into custody, WTVJ reported.
They also arrested a second suspect, 32-year-old Alberto Yanez Suarez, for allegedly trying to pull officers off of Serranopaca while they were trying to subdue him to take him into custody.
Serranopaca allegedly managed to bite one officer in the head during the brawl, according to police.
The officer was treated at the scene by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel, WTVJ reported.
Serranopaca has been charged with false imprisonment, criminal mischief, burglary of an occupied conveyance, and aggravated battery on a police officer.
Yanez Suarez was charged with resisting an officer without violence and aggravated battery on a police officer, WTVJ reported.
Miami International Airport Chief Executive Officer Ralph Cutie issued a statement in the wake of the incident.
“Like airports across the country, MIA is seeing record-high passenger numbers this winter travel season. Unfortunately, that passenger growth has come with a record-high increase nationwide in bad behavior as well, such as the incident this evening at MIA,” Cutie wrote.
He noted that “disruptive passengers” can face criminal charges and civil penalties of up to $37,000, and that they can also be banned from flying altogether, WTVJ reported.
“Please travel responsibly by getting to the airport extra early, being patient, complying with the federal mask law and airport staff, limiting your alcohol consumption, and notifying police at the first sign of bad behavior by calling 911,” Cutie added.
The MDPD said an investigation into the officer’s decision to draw his weapon is underway, WTVJ reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
so this is currently happening at miami international pic.twitter.com/LTukGpHx7d
— Mike Majlak (@mikemajlak) December 20, 2021