Roseville woman charged with ethnic intimidation on Spirit flight on 9/11 anniversary
A Roseville woman was arraigned Friday in connection with an alleged assault of a Black Muslim woman on a Spirit Airlines flight at Detroit Metro Airport on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Alexandra Lynn Farr, 39, was arraigned before 34th District Court Magistrate Alan Hindman in Romulus on one count each of ethnic intimidation, assault and battery and disorderly person. All the charges are misdemeanors, although the ethnic intimidation charge carries a penalty of up to two years in prison.
A not guilty plea was entered on Farr's behalf. The formal reading of the complaint was waived by Hindman and Farr was given a $7,500 personal bond during the hearing held via Zoom. Farr was ordered not to have any contact with Aicha Toure, the reported victim in the case.
Farr was arraigned via video from the Detroit Metro Airport police lockup where she was being held.
Farr's attorney, John Brennan, said his client is "Very sad about (the incident). She apologizes to the individual and anyone else."
The incident occurred around 6:25 p.m. on a Spirit Airlines flight that landed in Romulus from Atlanta.
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 after the bag fell.
“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.’"
Farr allegedly used profanity and was disruptive when she shouted a racial slur at Toure, calling her a “Muslim terrorist,” during a verbal confrontation. When Toure attempted to use her phone to record the altercation, Farr is accused of striking Toure's hand and her phone, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.
Detroit Metro Airport police officers responded to the scene and arrested Farr.
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said it welcomed the charges against Farr.
“CAIR-MI is pleased that the prosecutor’s office has taken the alleged targeting of Muslims in Detroit for violent Islamophobic attacks seriously,” said CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy Doukoure. “Charging Ms. Farr under Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Statute sends a strong signal to Michigan’s Muslim community that hatred and intolerance against them is unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy released a statement Thursday. "The alleged activity of this defendant was completely inappropriate and quickly elevated to criminal activity. Racist rants have become far more common lately and we will not hesitate to take action when we can do so legally.”
Farr's next court date is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 29 for a probable cause conference.