Published 7:51 AM EDT Oct 8, 2019
On Monday morning, a man was removed from an American Airlines plane by Miami-Dade Police using force.
“During the boarding process of American Airlines flight 1060 from Miami to Newark, a ticketed passenger for that flight ran on the jetbridge, bypassing the gate agent,” Ross Feinstein, spokesperson for American Airlines, told USA TODAY in an emailed statement. “Law enforcement was summoned, who removed the passenger.”
The incident occurred shortly after 6 a.m., Lee Cowart, detective and public information officer at the Miami-Dade Police Department, told USA TODAY.
In the American Airlines concourse, American Airlines staff approached an adult male individual after observing his behavior as being suspicious.
“[He] fled from having a conversation with them and ran onto one of the jet ways,” Cowart explained.
The jet way was connected to an American Airlines plane and he boarded.
When the man ran away from American Airlines staff, they contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department for assistance.
“Officers responded,” said Cowart. “They removed adult male from the airplane and deemed him to be in crisis.”
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After determining he was in crisis, they proceeded to take him to a facility to be checked out under the Baker Act.
The law is different in different states, Cowart said.
In Florida, when someone is deemed to be in a crisis and could pose a threat to themselves or to others, they can be forcibly taken into custody.
More specifically, in Florida, the Baker Act “allows people with mental illnesses to be held involuntarily for up to 72 hours in a mental health treatment facility if they meet certain criteria,” according to an explainer from the Tampa Bay Times on the act.
It can be put into action by doctors, judges, mental health professionals and law enforcement officials, such as police.
“He was not arrested,” said Cowart. “He was taken to a facility for evaluation.”
After the man was removed from the flight, the plane was taken to a facility at the airport to be checked for any damages or any weapons.
Miami International Airport declined to comment.
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