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. theresa b

    Hey morons, two wrongs don't make a right.An assault is never the answer, even in Idaho.The snot nosed focker should have spent the night in jail!

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

      sometimes.....just sometimes....assult IS the answer. You just have to be willing to pay the consequences yourself.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    @ Alaric

    Cell phones interfere with the avionics? That's funny, I worked avionics, specifically communication and navigation systems for eight years in the USAF (2001-2009) and never saw that. In fact, we'd (maintenance and flight crew personnel) would use our cell phones on the flight deck while flying aboard mil aircraft if our elevation was low enough to catch a signal.

    Cell phones: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    VHF comms: 118-137 MHz
    VHF nav: 108-118 MHz
    GPS: 1227 and 1575 MHz
    Glidescope: 329-335 MHz

    The FCC doesn't want you to use cell phones on board an aircraft because it causes more work for the cell system because you're jumping from tower to tower. And the FAA doesn't want you using your cell phone during takeoff/landing because it's distracting and if an emergency occurred, you may not have 100% situational awareness.

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

      Thank you for laying that out. Out of all the flights that leave airports everyday I'm sure the percentage of people that don't actually turn off their electronics is pretty high and its never brought a plane down or messed with the avionics.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      Harmonics ...

      December 29, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. dr feelgud

    the teen should have beat the old man's @ss black and blue. Doesnt matter what the kid was doing....still doesnt give him the right to punch'em. Im sure if there was a real threat, the flight crew would have taking care of it.

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

      Hmm... so what I hear you saying is "It's wrong to hit somebody! So the the kid should have kit the guy who hit him!"

      Logical fail much?

      December 29, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. TKing

    The article says he "struck" the kid, it did NOT say he "beat" the kid, stop reading more into then it says. Concidering the mans age he probably smacked him in the back of the head with the flat of his hand and said "HEY! take out the head phones and turn off the cell phone.". It's what I would have wanted to do. I doubt very much he sucker punched the kid in the mouth.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rocket

    He should have alerted the flight crew and had the little turd removed from the plane. He should not have hit the kid. Now he is in deep doo and little McSnoterton walks away free and clear.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • I hate idiots

      Have you people ever flown on an airplane? They would never ever ever arrest a person for not turning off a cellphone. The flight attendant would just stand there until he turned it off. Old people are seriously destroying this country with their stupidity. I have a small bit of hope that the Baby Boomers will be less moronic than the current batch of seniors.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mi Poo

      This was Southwest Airlines. The flight attendants were probably too busy making jokes or doing their typical comedy routine to make sure that everybody had phones turned off, seatbelts fastened, etc.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. g. Logan

    Two wrongs dont make a right! So now the true wrong is being over looked because the older gentleman did wrong?! There are idiots all over the world not just in Idaho where you from?... Logan

    December 29, 2010 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. bob the methigel

    do any of you fly or even own a cellphone?

    cellphones have this setting called airplane mode

    it disallows the phone from receiving calls, making/sending calls/texts, and finding cell towers - that is what can cause an issue with avionics.

    Not just the fact the phone was on.

    holy christ some of you are dumb.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Flight Attendant Jon

      Airplane mode is fine above 10,000 ft, but is not permitted once the cabin doors are closed, or for taxi, takeoff, and final approach. They can be used once on the ground during taxi to the gate. The same applies for e-book readers. And I do fly once in a while 😉

      December 29, 2010 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
    • NowThatWasStupid

      "holy christ some of you are dumb."

      You sir are an idiot....

      December 29, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      Not all cell phones have an airplane mode. Perhaps most newer ones do but there are still plenty out there that don't.
      The fact of the matter here is that regardless of whether the teens cell phone may have had an airplane mode, all personal electronics, including cell phones, are to be turned off during take off and landing. I agree the male passenger should have notified the flight creww of the situation and not struck the teen.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      And you could tell from the story that the phone was in airplane mode ?

      December 29, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. I hate idiots

    See, when the government installs fascist measures in airline security, a alot of people/ sheep feel that it is justified to act like fascists too. Because at heart, a lot of people are really just Nazi fascist sheep who hate everything.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. howard

    The kid was wrong & should have beed arrested. There a few crew members for 200 people & I'm sure he asked him to turn it off before he hit him & using a cell whil plane is in motion can cause harm to all on the plane. The kids today have no respect & my kids know to listen & follow the flight crew & turn it off. Now we have to worry about a kid instead of safety. Wrong person arrested unless he caused bolily harm to the stupid kid. Kids rules & laws are there to protect you. Wake up kids your not above the law. He should have been thrown off the plane so everyone learns to listen.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Flight Attendant Jon

      I disagree. If their was a true security event in the sky, I would welcome the help of passengers. I do not need passengers enforcing PED rules. If you can ring your call button every time you want a snack or a drink, surely you could ring it if you felt the cell phone was a safety issue.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill...

    Most cell phone don't have airplane mode only the smart phones have that feature, plus the fact you have to turn it on...Yes some of us are so dumb!

    December 29, 2010 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Craig

    I applaud the man for whoopin up on the kid. Sometimes a rap on the head is the only thing that will get someones attention. It is not allowed to use cellphones on a aircraft after the announcement is made over the loudspeakers...if he was on the cell...next to me...he would have got the same thing...as would any of you if you were sitting next to me.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
    • I hate idiots

      And then anyone sitting next to you would be justified in completely subduing you out of the reasonable fear that you were an insane violent maniac.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Then I would have every right to beat the crap out of you.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. monte c.

    such a wimp, got his ars kicked by a elderly person

    December 29, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • risskia

      I had a 74 year old sensei who was soke of his style (Cat-style jujitsu 10th dan) and 8th or 9th dan in a bunch of other martial arts. Ex special ops. He could break people by looking at them hard.

      "Old" doesn't mean "feeble" and 68 isn't as old as it used to be, physically speaking.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    If cell phones could bring down airplanes, then all a terrorist would need to do is go to the lavatory, turn on his Blackberry and make a phone call. Since airlines let us carry our phones onto the plane, this is obviously not the reason we are discouraged from using phones (and other electronics) on the plane. I don't like punks any more than the next guy, but you can't take the law into your own hands when a brat is flagrantly violating the rules on an airplane - period. Chaos ensues otherwise.

    December 29, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rob in Atlanta

    I was on a flight where a teenager was using his phone during taxi. I called the flight attendant and pointed to the kid and she asked him to stop. He stopped. She returned to her seat and the minute she buckled in the kid turned his phone back on and glared at me. After the flight took off I discussed the situation with the flight attendant and she said her options were very limited and she did not want to turn the situation into a big deal (nor did I). But I must confess when the kid turned his phone back on and glared at me while we were taking off I wanted to rip the phone out of his hands and break it into a million pieces.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      @ Rob in Atlanta

      Why did you have an issue with the passenger next to you using a cell phone?

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

      Understand how you feel. Perhaps a little accident like spilling his soda onto his lap would have made you feel better.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Rob, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you were a tattletale in kindergarten.

      December 29, 2010 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
    • risskia

      No, it's just obnoxious to see someone do something willfully against the rules. Not saying the kid should have been hit. I AM saying that if I were the kid's mother, I would have been ashamed of my child's behavior and taken the phone away myself. Maybe permanently.

      December 29, 2010 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      risskia wrote: "No, it's just obnoxious to see someone do something willfully against the rules. Not saying the kid should have been hit. I AM saying that if I were the kid's mother, I would have been ashamed of my child's behavior and taken the phone away myself. Maybe permanently."

      I wonder if she would apply this same argument to a person who was speeding down the road as clearly they would be doing "something willfully against the rules".

      Everyone who made a comment regarding the young man violating the rules and safety concerns need to realize what they want could be applied to them in situations where people believe they are violating the rules. Should I be allowed to force your car off the road if I believe you are a threat? Driving 60 in a 55 mph zone is clearly against the law. Should a 68 year old man decide that you driving at this speed is a threat to his going 45 and then smack into you?

      To those that say kids should obey their elders would this apply to someone who wanted to do you harm? Would you tell a child to get into a car of someone they didn't know as long as the person was their elder?

      Unless you knowthe manner in which the young man was asked to turn off the phone you don't know enough to decide even if you would have turned off the phone. How long had the plane been on the tarmac?

      Not bad parenting, just Monday morning quarterbacking by people who were not even there and the lesbians comment was a reason people don't like lesbians.

      December 29, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Long Time Flight Attendant

      Rob, I commend you for trying to do something by calling a Flight Attendant. When the kid glared at you and just turned it back on why didn't you just call again. If I had to come back a second time the cellular device would have been GONE..........

      December 29, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob in Atlanta

      Steve, I guess if i am not allowed to use my cell phone then no one should be allowed to. Thomas, calling the flight attendant was the proper thing to do as opposed to handling the situation myself (which I could easily have done but then I would probably been arrested). As for calling the flight attendant again the pilot had announced that we were next in line for take off. There were a lot of folks upset by the incident. After take off the flight attendant did take the kid's cell phone and all his other electronics. He was really angry then so I decided not to nap.

      December 29, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. america 1st

    Hooray for old folks!

    December 29, 2010 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
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