Passenger charged in Spirit Airlines incident at DTW on 9/11 anniversary

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The county Prosecutor's Office has charged a passenger in connection with allegedly assaulting a woman and calling her a “Muslim terrorist” on a Spirit Airlines flight at Detroit Metro Airport on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Alexandra Lynn Farr, 39, of Roseville was expected to be arraigned Friday through 34th District Court in Romulus on ethnic intimidation, a two-year high misdemeanor; disorderly person; and assault and battery, both 93-day misdemeanors, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday. 

The incident prompted response from CAIR Michigan.

The incident involved Spirit Airlines Flight 3807, which landed at the airport in Romulus around 6:25 p.m. Saturday from Atlanta.

Wayne County Airport Authority Police were alerted about an unruly passenger.

Aicha Toure, a 29-year-old Muslim woman arriving to visit family in Flint, told The Detroit News that Farr cursed at another passenger whose carry-on bag handle grazed her leg.

“I told her she was being disrespectful and that she probably didn’t hit her with the bag on purpose,” Toure said. “I said, ‘She’s an older lady; you should be more respectful.’

Aicha Toure

"She looked at me and told me to mind my own business, and then she said, ‘Shut up you f------ Muslim terrorist.’”

Toure said she argued with the woman for a few minutes before noticing other passengers were filming the exchange then started to use her phone to record the incident.

“She lunged toward me and punched my hand, attempting to punch the phone out of my hand,” she said.

Farr was taken into custody. The airport police submitted a warrant recommendation to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“The alleged activity of this defendant was completely inappropriate and quickly elevated to criminal activity," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. “Racist rants have become far more common lately and we will not hesitate to take action when we can do so legally.”

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which represented Toure, had sought ethnic intimidation charges.

"We are pleased that the prosecutor took this seriously," said Amy Doukoure, staff attorney at CAIR-MI. "We’ve seen, especially with what’s going on overseas currently and the heightened emotions around 9/11, an uptick in crimes against Muslims based on their religious identity."

Spirit officials said Sunday that Farr "is no longer welcome on any of our flights."