Cops: Man punches teen on flight during iPhone kerfuffle

Cops: Man punches teen on flight during iPhone kerfuffle
BOISE, Idaho - You hear the woes of holiday traveling: packed, delayed and stranded flights. Police said a Boise man lost his cool on a flight home from Vegas for a very different reason.

Passengers and the flight crew told police that while the plane was preparing to take off in Vegas, Russell Miller punched a 15-year-old after he refused to turn off his iPhone.

Police said the teen was playing games and listening to music when the flight attendants announced their final approach to land and all powered devices needed to be turned off.

When the teenager didn't respond to the intercom request, witnesses said the man got angry. During the in-flight fight, they told police the man punched the teenager in the arm.

Lt. Kent Lipple tells KBOI-TV 2News after the argument the pilots radioed the air traffic control tower and requested airport and local police to be ready at the gate.

"He punched him so hard there was a mark on the teen's arm," Lipple said. "That gave us probable cause to believe the reports from the other passengers." 
In an interview with the Idaho Statesman, Russell told the reporter it was only a tap.
 
Travelers who heard the story had mixed emotions.
 
"I don't think it's ever appropriate to touch another person physically," said Barbara of Boise.
 
"People are tense and some people freak out on planes, so violence I guess I can see it, but it is sad that that kind of thing happens" said Anna Spears who traveled from Minnesota.
 
In hindsight people told KBOI2 News they'd react differently.
 
"I believe in following the rules, but I think the stewardess should monitor that. The guy shouldn't have taken it into his own hands" said Deb Sloan of Boise.
 
"I'm kind of nervous about flying myself so I wouldn't want anyone breaking the rules on my flight," said a Florida man while traveling.
 
"First the 15-year-old should've listened to the stewardess. But he was out of line. I'm sure he did something to provoke the older gentleman, but he probably should've shown more restraint then he did by punching him. But having teenagers I know where he was coming from," said Dan Kern of San Diego.
 
Russell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery.
 
"That's battery and he should be prosecuted," said a Nampa man.
 
Not everyone agrees with the charge.
 
"Give him a ticket or some community service or make him go to a chalk board and write I won't hit a teenager a thousand times and call it good. I think the teenager should apologize for whatever part of the story we don't know. What are the rules for? Either follow them or don't get on the plane," said Kern.

The teen victim is not from Boise and was flying alone and without parents. He did not receive a citation.