2 charged with assault in Spirit Airlines bag dispute

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

What should have been a routine processing for passengers at Detroit Metro Airport on Sunday led to what Spirit Airlines describes as an assault on its workers at the gate, two arrests and two employees injured.

Two people from Detroit, Jameel L. Murphy, 30, and Raymonique M. Williams, 29 were charged Tuesday in connection with the incident, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

Spirit representatives said they had been trying to board Flight 646 to Atlanta on Sunday night without authorization.

The couple allegedly became irate and argued with a Spirit gate agent about an issue over gate fees for their carry-on baggage, the Prosecutor's Office said.

Murphy and Williams allegedly struck the gate agent in the face and back while trying to open the boarding gate, then allegedly hit another Spirit agent in the head when the employee tried to intervene.

A cellphone video posted by WDIV-TV (Channel 4) showed a man shoving an agent to the airport floor and tussling with him as several others rush over then fall in a pile.


Murphy and Williams were arrested at the scene, said the Prosecutor's Office. The Spirit agent who attempted to intervene was treated at a hospital.

The pair are charged with aggravated assault, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace, all misdemeanors. They were arraigned in 34th District Court in Romulus before Judge Brian Oakley.

Both are due back in court for a pretrial hearing at noon March 17 and have been released on $1,000 personal bonds.


The passengers are banned from future Spirit flights, the airline said Monday.

"All of us at Spirit wish the agents a speedy recovery and thank them for their courage and professionalism," Spirit officials said. "We also thank law enforcement for responding quickly and arresting those involved in the attack. This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business."

Staff Writer Oralandar Brand-Williams contributed