Brooklyn Man Charged With Assaulting JetBlue Flight Attendant

Off-duty NYPD officer stepped in and subdued the man, police said.

Monday, Nov 28, 2011  |  Updated 5:13 PM EDT
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The incident happened early Sunday on JetBlue Flight 832 from the Dominican Republic to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the NYPD said.

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An off-duty New York City police officer subdued and handcuffed an intoxicated passenger accused of attacking a flight attendant Sunday during a scuffle aboard a JetBlue plane.

Officer Anibal Mercado intervened after Antonio Ynoa, of Brooklyn, punched a flight attendant in the face early Sunday on JetBlue Flight 832 from the Dominican Republic to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the NYPD said.

About a half hour before the plane was scheduled to land at about 12:30 a.m., the flight attendant approached Ynoa and told him to stop drinking duty-free alcohol, police said. Ynoa became angry and hit the attendant, police said.

Mercado, a patrol cop in the Bronx, intervened and the flight landed safely with no further incidents.

The officer told reporters that he felt compelled to help.

"Everybody was very alarmed," Mercado said. "I could see the fear in the passengers' faces."

Mercado told Ynoa that he was a police officer, then wrestled him to the ground and restrained him with a pair of plastic handcuffs stored on the aircraft, police said.

"He struck me a few times in the face as I was trying to restrain him," said Mercado, who is an 18-year veteran of the police force. "He was still yelling profanities. I was just telling him to calm down."

A JetBlue spokesman said the plane landed safely. When the flight landed, Ynoa was escorted off the plane by the FBI. The FBI says Ynoa, 22, will be arraigned Monday in federal court in Brooklyn on charges of assault and interference with a flight crew.

The name of his lawyer was not immediately known.

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