Brandon Strong is the airline passenger who was arrested and hit with pepper spray after allegedly assaulting a JetBlue crew member. The incident happened on October 21, 2018, at Orlando International Airport.
A witness recorded the confrontation between Strong and crew members on her cellphone.
Another witness, who goes by the Twitter handle @Slake03, shared another angle of the initial confrontation. She kept recording as Strong struggled with police as well.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Brandon Strong Was Waiting for a Flight When He Allegedly Got Into an Argument With a Woman; a JetBlue Employee Told Strong He Would Not Be Allowed on the Plane
Citing a police affidavit, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the situation began with Brandon Strong getting into some sort of argument with a fellow passenger. They were waiting for a JetBlue flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, from Orlando. An airline employee told police that he heard a woman shout at Strong to leave her alone. The worker stepped in and told Strong he could not travel.
The newspaper reported that Strong then moved toward the gate door, as if to board the plane. The employee got in his way, and that’s when Strong allegedly grabbed the man and tried to wrestle him. Other JetBlue workers got involved and managed to break up the fight, though there was a lot of shoving and curse words involved. In the video at the top of this article, you can hear one woman saying that the police were on their way.
WKMG-TV also reported that Strong was allegedly “very belligerent” during this confrontation. The Twitter user who posted several videos of the incident, who goes by the handle @Slake03, also shared that it appeared that Strong was intoxicated.
2. Brandon Strong Was Seen On Video Struggling With Police at the Airport, Which Prompted an Officer to Use Pepper Spray
Police soon arrived at Orlando International Airport to try to diffuse the tension. Instead, the situation escalated. An officer reportedly told Strong to leave his luggage on the ground, but Strong did not comply with the instructions.
At some point, the conversation became physical. Strong and the officer were seen on the video wrestling on the floor. The officer used pepper spray and struggled to put Strong in handcuffs.
The Orlando Sentinel, citing the police affidavit, reported that Strong managed to pull the officer’s radio from his vest, as well as extra magazines. Other travelers stepped forward to help the officer put Strong into the handcuffs. Several people in the terminal were affected by the pepper spray fumes, and were seen and heard coughing in the video recording.
The video shows that three officers struggled to get Strong to leave the airport. They dragged him out, with Strong continuously struggling to get away.
3. Brandon Strong’s 8-Year-Old Son Was There & Witnessed the Entire Ordeal
According to the police affidavit, 45-year-old Brandon Strong was traveling with his young son. They were flying from Orlando to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Strong reportedly asked for his son after police had him in handcuffs. The Orlando Sentinel reported that after asking about his child, Strong then apparently told officers he was about to “s*it his pants.”
JetBlue employees located the little boy. Another family member picked him up at the airport.
4. Brandon Strong Faces Several Charges & Bonded Out of the Orange County Jail
Brandon Strong was arrested and booked into the Orange County Jail in Orlando. He faces several charges including:
• Battery on a law enforcement officer
• Depriving an officer of means of protection
• Resisting an officer with violence
• Resisting an officer without violence
• Child neglect
• Disorderly intoxication
According to jail records, Strong posted bail and was released.
5. Brandon Strong is Reportedly the President of an Aerospace Company & Told Officers He Had White House Connections
Brandon Strong was reportedly verbally aggressive during the ride to jail. According to the probable cause statement, cited by KSTU-TV, Strong told officers that he had connection to the White House, “from his work as a contractor at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.” He also reportedly threatened to go after the JetBlue employee “with everything he’s got, and that he was a concealed weapons permit holder and firearms owner.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Strong attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He graduated in 1997 with a degree in business management. He is the president of Strong Aerospace in the greater Salt Lake City area.
Strong’s public Facebook page includes photos of his son and dog. He does not appear to be married.