Airline passenger punches deaf pregnant woman, service dog: Police

Police said a passenger got into an argument about being allergic to the dog.

May 19, 2018, 5:20 AM

The FBI is determining whether to press charges after a man allegedly punched a pregnant deaf woman and her service dog on a Frontier Airlines plane in Orlando on Thursday.

According to Orlando police, as the flight from Colorado was descending for landing at Orlando International Airport, Timothy and Petrini Manley took issue with fellow passengers' service dog. Petrini Manley allegedly complained she was allergic to dogs and Timothy Manley complained the dog, a Great Dane, was taking up too much space.

Timothy then punched the service dog with a closed fist, according to police.

The owners of the service dog, Mathew Silvay and Hazel Ramirez, who are both deaf, began arguing with the Manleys "as best they could," police said, though both communicate using sign language.

"Timothy reacted by getting in Matthew's face," according to the police report. "At some point Hazel was punched in the stomach by Timothy and [Ramirez and Silvay's] two children were touched by Timothy."

Ramirez is 20 weeks pregnant.

"That's when my fianceé just became furious, because he put his hands on me and the kid and the dog," Ramirez told Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV Friday evening through a sign language interpreter.

The argument continued as the two couples departed the plane and Silvay tackled Timothy Manley, according to police. Silvay admitted in the police report to tackling Timothy, saying he did so in order to detain him until police arrived.

Petrini Manley told WFTV the whole incident was a misunderstanding. She said her husband accidentally hit the dog, but couldn't convince Silvay and Ramirez it wasn't on purpose.

No one was arrested in the incident, police said, but the case has been referred to the FBI. The FBI, which is handling the investigation because it took place on a plane, will decide whether to press charges.

"The FBI was contacted and a copy of this reported [sic] is provided to them," the police report states. "Hazel does wish to prosecute and will testify in court."

Frontier released a statement saying, "The safety and security of our passengers is our top priority at Frontier. Upon deplaning flight 1752 from Colorado Springs to Orlando, there was a confrontation between passengers. Police were immediately notified to aid in deescalating the situation."

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