Police: Man attacks teen over cell phone on plane
December 29th, 2010
03:02 AM ET

Police: Man attacks teen over cell phone on plane

A 68-year-old Idaho man has been charged with misdemeanor battery after police say he struck a teen who would not turn off his phone while the plane they were in was taxiing for takeoff.

The incident took place Tuesday evening on a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho, said Lt. Kent Lipple of the Boise police.

The man, Russell Miller, was arrested after the plane landed, Lipple said.

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soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. sure


    December 29, 2010 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jasdk

      old man that phone wont drop the plane out of the sky get wit the program

      December 29, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
    • buran

      Go back to growing potatoes old man. And learn to behave in a civilized soceity!! You were probably told that if one cell phone is on, it can crash a plane and you'll die because of some stupid kid, well let me tell you it ain't so! In this situation correct course of actions is to call the flight attendant and complain not engage in a rage! This is a teener after all...

      December 29, 2010 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Hey, all it takes is one phone to potentially bring the plane down or interfere with communications... they wouldn't tell ppl to turn off their phones if there was zero risk involved... they have turned planes around to escort passengers off the plane who refuse to... hitting the person was wrong but when will retarded americans lean to follow rules... I don't care how important your phone call is, have some consideration for other passengers safety....

      December 29, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      jasdk, buron, get a life. That "old man" didn't smack him hard enough to "get the message" that you do what you are told. I think you need to be smacked as well perhaps?

      December 29, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      This rests on the airlines. They should have enforced the instructions that devices such as cell phones were to be turned off. It should not be a passenger that enforces airline regulations. Shame on the airlines for this ever happening.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @Joe; As a military pilot, the only issue I have ever had is sometimes the phone will cause a "buzzing" sound on my radios/ICS, which can get somewhat annoying after a while. As far as safety of flight goes, I have NEVER had it interfere with any of my navigation equipment, neither UHF nor VHF.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • KB

      @ Joe, Yes they would. People are told not to use their cell phone in gas stations even though there is literally a 0% chance of it causing any problems.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
    • monkeydawg2

      Good for you, old man. People have no manners with cell phones. I hope you absolutely SLAPPED the TASTE out of his/her mouth!

      December 29, 2010 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      There are rules about this. Teenagers shoulldn't be punks, not following rules. I know its safe, but how many other stupid rules do we make our kids follow? Bad parenting is responsible here. As long as he asked the kid to turn the phone off first (Teens should obey adults, especially respect their seniors) then a smack was probably justified. I bet the kid probably mouthed off to him as well. Probably shouldve just notified the flight attendant and the shoe would be on the other foot, with the kid being escorted off of the plane.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      I know a lot of professional pilots who say phones have nothing to do with the plane. The whole turning the phones off during taxiing is so everyone is not distracted in the event of an emergency.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Clyde

      While I don't condone what the man did, I can understand his frustration. There is a part of our population who feel they can disregard rules when it suits them. The cabin crew is in charge, we need to let them do their job and abide by their instructions. When they say turn off the damn cell phones before take-off, we have an obligation to do so. The worlds not going to come to a screeching halt just because one of his buds isn't told he just farted in his seat before takeoff.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • MLW

      Teenagers are spoil brats and they all need to be slapped and their precious cell phones destroyed.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      These were the exact things that began to happen in nazi Germany. America is sliding down a slippery slope... I'm starting to wonder if Aries the god of war is real... So why can't you talk on your phone during a takeoff?

      December 29, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Any reason why the teenager didn't get arrested for violating FAA regulations?

      December 29, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • rtwva

      i can't believe what i'm hearing? the teenager can't follow the rules, and your mad at the older man? i fly several times a month and i know that a cell phone being used on taxi is not go to bring down a plane, but it is a rule for the safety of everyone, maybe to get people to be attentive if some accident happened??? maybe the kid got what he deserved! you say "come on old man get with the program"? what is wrong with the teenager getting with a program that follows the rules and does what is right? maybe if teenagers started following rules, our highschool teachers wouldn't get threatened daily and could actually teach.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Slake

      To the folks that really believe that one cellphone can completely interrupt communications...How many times a day do you think people forget to turn off their phones or just don't do it when they ride on a plane? I'm sure the number would surprise all of us. It really is unknown if there is a direct effect (watch Mythbusters...they ran this one)

      December 29, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. 2100

    Its those people from idaho ........they are really weird-and do strange things like this man did ,,,,, i guess its to much time spent in the middle of nowhere(idaho) they dont know how to behave like decent human-biengs...... They are just plain WIERD-DOS and should not fly on planes........

    December 29, 2010 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Monte

      Probably tapped the limp wristed little brat (aka law breaker) and he made a big deal out of it instead of owning up to he was using the phone when he should not have been. It is against the law, I assume you know.

      December 29, 2010 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      Monte, so you think an assault is justified rather than just calling the flight attendant? your pretty twisted, Idaho maybe?

      December 29, 2010 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Mark, every place has its share of twisted people including Toronto...if you are even from there.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
    • william brown

      Maybe the kid needs to give respect to the people on the plane the teen is not the only one on there do they or do they not say cut off cell phones? YES they do so follow a simple rule I think the kid got smart and the old man did what he needed to do and thats slap some respect in him he prob. needs it agasin the little baby

      December 29, 2010 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
    • rtwva

      you just keep thinking Idaho is a place for "wierdo's"... that will keep all the real strange people in cailifornia,,, or utah,, or on the east coast,, and Idaho will be the only place where a person can feel safe at night, and be able to walk the streets without a gun, ,,, you have obvioulsy never been there.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Monte

    Hmm, wonder if that is the Russ Miller I worked with in Bahrain ? Could be ... lol

    December 29, 2010 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. TXboy78

    WOW. A teenager used a phone and didn't turn it off? Oh yeah, let's beat him up. Who cares if it's against the law? No excuse to HIT a KID. I'm sure you ignorant idiots never did anything when you were younger that was against the law.

    December 29, 2010 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • paul

      snot nosed teen deserves a beating.

      December 29, 2010 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      68 year old dude, yea thats really going to hurt. kid probably deserved it. Everyone else follows the rules, no exceptions, especially if it is regarding flight safety? kid your playing with my life too? i dont think so.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • pep

      Who knows what actually happened, but here is my take on it. They already made the announcements to turn off all phones. If this could take down a plane or not who cares, it's a rule of all airlines. More than likely this guy said something to this punk kid and he got a smart mouth about it. Seems to me his parents should have hit him a long time ago.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
    • rtwva

      yea TXBOY78, we did some stupid stuff and we got smacked for it too.... taught us to grow up.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      Hey Paul, so do you.....feel free to pop on by and have your nose broken!!!!

      December 29, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. prinzy010

    They arrested the wrong person....

    December 29, 2010 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
    • bigboxes

      Thank you.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
    • douglas

      That's a lame comment. So I suppose anyone has the right to impose punishment on someone they feel is breaking some rule or law? We aren't in Mexico. We respect authority here, and those who are tasked with keeping the peace.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Shiloh

      @ Douglas
      Say what you want but in most states I have the right to shot you if I see you pointing a gun at another person. I wont even get arrested for it either. I agree with the old man, he did what was needed, and hopefully he does it again.

      "We respect authority here, and those who are tasked with keeping the peace." Not all of us cuz if we all did this teenager wouldnt have gotten hit huh?

      December 29, 2010 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dorothy Friend

    I say give the guy a free ticket to fly for life.

    I am under 60, liberal, feminist and lesbian and will say it again.

    Give the guy a free ticket to fly for life and throw the book at the kid.

    December 29, 2010 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      you are far more likely a crotchety old gas bag from Idaho

      December 29, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Dorothy Friend

      Mark - sorry, never been there in my life and don't plan to get there. I'm currently living in Tel Aviv.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      There simply isn't enough information to go on here. Maybe the kid had his phone switched to Airplane mode so he could still listen to his music or watch a movie.

      I'm willing to bet the old guy didn't know about it if that is the case. Heck I've heard flight attendants get confused with that. The phone would be perfectly safe to use at that point but to others it would look like he was just using his phone.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • NowThatWasStupid

      Even if it was in airplane mode, all electronics are supposed to be turned OFF during takeoff and landing.

      The man shouldn't have hit the kid, he should have brought it to the attention of the flight crew.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      You do NOT speak for all lesbians, or feminists for that matter. There are plenty of us who do not condone physical violence over a silly cell phone.. Thanks for waving the family flag in support of inappropriate violence.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • star

      The damm man needs to keep his hands to his self. If tht was my kid he,would have his neck broke. True fact..

      December 29, 2010 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I'm with you, Dorothy Friend (at 3:53 am) and I'm also under 60, with over a million mles of flying and Mark, Toronto No I'm NOT FROM IDAHO either. I've seen far too much of this kind of disregard for the rules by a**hole passengers

      December 29, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. LOW LYF


    December 29, 2010 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Russell Miller is my Hero. My only wish is that he had the opportunity to smack him once for me.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ruby

      hahahahahah. Way to go. I agree 200%. Smartass kid probably gave him a smart mouth.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. 2100

    Old man from IDAHO / Jet-Plane = something stupid is about to happen.......!!

    December 29, 2010 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Alaric

    While the older guy should not have hit the teenager, it is the teenager who should have been led away in handcuffs for endangering the other passengers, the crew and the plane. The snot-nosed little brat decided he knew better than the crew who would have reminded people to turn off their cell phones. Cell phones interfere with the avionics of the plane unless a special cell phone repeater system is installed in the plane.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      Well know-it-all, it would seem the police did not agree with you and neither did the flight crew.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      So you buy into the lie that personal electronic devices interfere with the plane's avionics? Not.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill...

    I'm way over 60 physical fit and would have taken the battery out and kept it until the flight was over.
    Children today have no respect for rules or the safety of others. The spoiled brat should be the one arrested for non compliance to a FAA mandate. Please let the little focker sit next to me next time. Promise I wont hit him, as much as I would like to.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bill...

    BTW, Mark, Toronto. You need to have your battery removed too, and shoved in a place only TSA could find.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Flight Attendant Jon

    Battery is a crime. Failing to follow crew instructions is a crime. Using a cell phone in critical phases of flight (taxi, takeoff, landing, below 10,000 ft) is breaking a FAA rule that airlines have a duty to uphold, it is not a crime. Once a crew member instructs a passenger to turn off their phone, failure to comply with crew member instructions can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Long Time Flight Attendant

      This post is the most informational brilliant thing in this whole discussion. Listen everyone, you can skip then rest of the back and forth and just commit this post from Jon to memory and you will be EVERY crew members BEST FRIEND.

      December 29, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. 2100

    Well !! – what if they would have just put some WWF wrestlers on board and every-one gets a BEAT-DOWN before take-off,,,, would you all be satisfied then......!!!!

    December 29, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    Have we gone too far in political correctness? Yes, yes a thousand time yes. The old Engish saying was "spare the rod and spoil the child" – it has unfortunately proven to be 100% correct, as confirmed by the behaviour of so many of the "its MY right" generation. Well done Sir!

    December 29, 2010 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Dorothy Friend

      Jim-boy - many a crimminal grew up as an abused child. Spare the rod and spoil the child is just an excuse for picking on someone smaller than you and under your power.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
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