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Published: Friday, 1/8/2010

Toledoan taken off Miami plane, detained over disruption, threats

BLADE STAFF

MIAMI - A Toledo man remained in jail in Florida last night after being taken off a Detroit-bound jet and arrested for making racially threatening comments and taking a "combative posture" toward city police who responded at Miami International Airport, authorities said.

Mansor Mohammad "Mickey" Asad, 43, of 1216 North Ontario St., was charged with disorderly conduct, threats against a public servant, and resisting arrest without violence after his Wednesday night arrest at a gate to which Northwest Airlines Flight 2485 had returned after taxiing onto a runway.

During an arraignment yesterday morning in a Miami courtroom, bond was set at $6,500, but Asad was ordered held until at least today pending further court proceedings.

No terrorist activity was alleged in the case, and a Miami FBI spokesman said the federal agency, after participating in the initial investigation, said the incident "was a local matter."

The flight was allowed to resume its trip to Detroit after a security sweep was conducted after Asad's removal from the aircraft.

The Miami-Dade Police Department's report stated that officers used a Taser on Asad twice to subdue him when he became "boisterous" after an officer had released one of his handcuffs to allow him to put his socks and shoes back on following a search at the airport. A body search of Asad when he was removed from the plane turned up no weapons or potential explosive materials.

Police went to the airport after a Northwest pilot reported plans to return to the terminal because of a passenger who was loud and disruptive, making anti-Semitic statements such as, "I'm Palestinian and I want to kill all the Jews."

Several witnesses told police that the man also spoke in a foreign language, believed to be Arabic.

The incident was at least the third scare since Christmas involving a passenger on a Detroit-bound Northwest flight.

On Christmas Day, a Nigerian man aboard a flight from Amsterdam attempted to mix and detonate explosives as the plane approached Metro Airport. The mixture burned, but fizzled and passengers subdued the man and doused the flames.

Two days later, authorities were summoned to the same Amsterdam flight arrival because of uncooperative behavior by another Nigerian man who was subsequently determined to have fallen ill.

Scott Wintner, a Metro Airport spokesman, said that while the recent incidents have attracted national attention, it is not all that unusual for airport police to be summoned to remove unruly passengers from flights.

"I'd say it happens at least once a week" at Metro, though perhaps only a half-dozen times per year do such incidents involve the return of a departing plane that already has left the boarding gate.

Mary Chris Skeldon, a spokesman for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, said no one with the agency or the local Federal Aviation Administration office could remember the last time such an incident occurred at Toledo Express Airport, which has far fewer flights and passengers than bustling Detroit Metro or Miami International.

Mike Asad, the brother of the suspect aboard the Detroit-bound flight from Miami, said yesterday morning that he was shocked to learn about the disturbance.

He said he was unsure what set his brother off in Miami.

He said his brother has a history of behavioral problems and has been in and out of hospitals since he was 14.

Mike Asad said his brother was vacationing in Miami with his sister and his teenage daughter when the incident occurred. The three were on the plane together and his family members were questioned but not taken into custody, Mike Asad said.

Mansor Mohammad Asad is a Woodward High School graduate. His family has owned and operated the Appliance Connection in North Toledo on Lagrange Street for 21 years.

Asad has convictions for felony and misdemeanor offenses in Toledo and Lucas County courts.

He was arrested in October, 2008, after police responded to a complaint about Asad's "pit bull" dogs allegedly charging residents in a Toledo neighborhood.

According to court documents, police said Asad reportedly yelled to his daughter: "The cops are our enemies and they're going to kill you and the dogs" when officers arrived.

He was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

A plea agreement reached in the case resulted in Asad pleading no contest to obstructing official business in Toledo Municipal Court. He was found guilty and fined $150.

Asad was indicted in 1999 on two counts of felony assault on a police officer. He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the offenses.

He changed his plea to no contest in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to probation in 2000.

In Miami, before taking Asad to a holding facility to be interviewed, officers searched him on the jet bridge linking the aircraft with the terminal.

It was there, police said, that Asad made racial and threatening comments toward officers and charged one of them, prompting another to fire his Taser at the subject's back.

"I'm not afraid of you cops; I've gotten in fights with cops in Ohio and broken their arms in three places. I've broken skulls, too!" Asad is alleged to have said during the search, before he began praying and chanting in "a foreign language mixed with English," the report stated.

While the initial Taser shot stopped Asad's charge, he allegedly refused an order to place his arms behind his back, and only after the officer fired another Taser shot did he reportedly comply with commands and submit to being handcuffed.

Special Agent Judy Orihuela, a spokesman for the FBI's Miami office, said that while disrupting an airliner is a federal offense, Asad caused no physical disturbance until after police took him into custody, and his comments were not considered sufficient to warrant federal charges or further FBI involvement in the case.

Staff writers David Patch, Mark Reiter, and Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.



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