United Airlines Flight 5587, operated by SkyWest Airlines, was headed from O’Hare Airport in Chicago to Dayton, Ohio, on Thursday night. As the plane taxied down the runway around 7:40 p.m., crew members and other passengers asked Adam Kealing, 31, of Austin, Texas, to turn off his cell phone. He refused.
Another passenger, who did not want to be identified, recorded video of the incident. That passenger said Kealing appeared to be drunk.
As the plane returned to the gate, video shows Kealing getting out of his seat and walking to the front of the plane. At some point, a passenger said something to Kealing, who replies with a punch.
The video also shows Chicago police officers boarding the plane and trying to remove Kealing, who allegedly hits an officer as he’s wrestled to the ground.
“There was a gentleman sitting right in front of him. He looked at him and said, ‘Really?’ Then he punched him. The police were right there. The guy was seat-belted in, so he couldn’t get out. The Chicago police were right on the spot. Then it was a big fight in the jet way. He was fighting the police and resisting them,” said the man who recorded the video.
No one else was hurt in the scuffle and the police officer is expected to be OK.
Kealing faces four misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest and battery causing bodily harm.
“I don’t want to turn my phone off, either, but if it’s going to run more smoothly, than I’m going to do it,” Lauren Jankovec, airline passenger, said.
“The rules are a clearly established,” traveler Doug Ehens said. “It’s a no brainer.”