Florida Man Faces Riot Charge After Wild Airport Brawl

Police say it started when suspect confronted Miami Airport worker on transport cart
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2021 4:31 PM CST

(Newser) – Frustrated passengers brawled with officers at Miami International Airport after a charter flight was delayed Monday night, police say. According to an arrest report seen by WPLG, the incident began when Air Century passenger Mayfrer Serranopaca confronted an employee on a transport cart and demanded to speak to the airline. When the man told Serranopaca he worked for Turkish Airlines and was unable to help him, Serraonopaca grabbed the cart's key and broke it, preventing the employee from driving away, police say. The employee alerted airport authorities and video filmed by a passenger shows an angry crowd surrounding and jostling one of the responding officers, CBS Miami reports.

An arrest affidavit states that an officer who was "struck multiple times by other unknown passengers" feared for his safety and that of another officer, so he "drew his firearm and pointed it in the direction of the incited crowd." Police say Serranopaca, 30, and Alberto Yanez-Suarez, 32, were arrested after backup arrived. Serranopaca, who allegedly punched and bit an officer during the brawl, faces charges including battery on a police officer, resisting an officer with violence, and incite to riot. Yanes-Suarez, who allegedly pushed officers who were trying to arrest Serranopaca, faces charges of battery of a police officer and resisting an officer with violence, reports WPLG.

Airport director Ralph Cutie urged passengers to be patient and "travel responsibly," NBC Miami reports. He said that like other airports, MIA is seeing record-high passenger numbers this winter, and "unfortunately, that passenger growth has come with a record-high increase nationwide in bad behavior as well, such as the incident this evening." Disruptive passengers, he warned, "face police arrest, civil penalties up to $37,000, being banned from flying, and potential federal prosecution." (Read more unruly passenger stories.)

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