ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Brandon Strong stood before an Orange County judge, Monday afternoon. He faced seven charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer and child neglect.
Strong was caught on video, as airline passengers tried to keep him from fighting with a JetBlue counter clerk at the MCO departure gate. Stunned passenger Samantha Lake recorded the video.
"I was sitting at the gate, watching a video on my phone, when the woman next to me abruptly jumped up," Lake recalled.
Lake watched it all happen before her eyes - Strong's punching, swinging, and cursing, all of it happening in front of his eight-year-old son.
"What's really surprising," Lake said, "is that his family was there. His son was standing next to him when the initial altercation took place."
Once passengers had separated the two, she says Strong seemed to calm down. Then a police officer came over.
"They were talking, it was very calm," Lake said, "I thought that was the end of it. All of a sudden I heard the loudest slam I've ever heard on the ground. The police officer took the man down, that's when I started recording again."
That's when Lake recorded more video of Strong and the cop fighting. Passengers piled-on, trying to keep Strong down. That's when the officer pulled out his pepper spray.
"They pepper sprayed him with no warning," Lake said, "no one contained the crowd. You'll see in the video a man walk by saying he'd been pepper sprayed. That's when I stopped recording to get away from the area."
Lake said it's first and last time she ever wanted to see something like this happen. "I've flown hundreds of times in the last five years. Never witnessed anything like that."