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Passenger says brawl caught on video of MIA Frontier Airlines flight was racially motivated

Passenger who was punched decides not to press charges, according to police

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – It was an argument that turned violent at Miami International Airport as passengers were deplaning a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia.

The woman, who recorded the incident on her cell phone, said one passenger became upset because he said the person in front of him was taking too long to get his bags from the overhead bins.

She said that’s when the first passenger used a racial slur against the second passenger and then punched him.

The flight from Philadelphia landed around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night.

Kiera Pierre Louis, who goes by her hip hop name Milli Miami, and recorded the incident on her cell phone said, “I couldn’t believe what was going on.”

She described what she saw and what she caught on video: “You can see the white man on top of the Black passenger just beating him between the seats. The flight attendant got involved. The white man’s wife got involved. His son, I believe, and his son’s girlfriend — everyone was just involved.”

Several people, including a Frontier flight attendant tried to intervene.

Eventually several people were able to pull the passenger off of the man as several others yelled for the two to separate from each other.

After the first passenger left, the second passenger started to go after him, then on the video, you can see he changes his mind.

Pierre Louis said the first passenger, who she said started the fight was allowed to leave the plane, while the second man was told to stay behind.

Pierre Louis said she believed that the way it was handled in the end had racial overtones.

“Racism, of course,” Pierre Louis said. “The black passenger had to wait on the plane, when he didn’t even start it, and the police, while we were walking off the plane, walked right past the person, the white man who actually initiated everything. "

Miami-Dade Police told Local 10 News that the Black passenger was not held back, but instead chose to stay so he could file a police report. Ultimately, they said, he decided not to press charges and the passenger who allegedly started the brawl was able to leave.

A statement from Frontier Airlines sent to Local 10 News referred any detailed questions about the incident to the Miami-Dade Police Department.

“Yesterday as a flight from Philadelphia to Miami was deplaning at MIA, a physical altercation broke out among passengers who were towards the back of the aircraft. The flight crew requested law enforcement assistance. All passengers involved were asked to remain on the aircraft however some disregarded the flight crew’s instructions. Ultimately, local law enforcement became involved.”


About the Authors:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.