ORLANDO, Fla. — Video shows a confrontation that erupted after a deaf pregnant woman said a man punched her and her service dog as their Frontier flight was taxiing to a gate at Orlando International Airport.
The family of the man said it was all a misunderstanding.
Hazel Ramirez admits that her fiancé, Matthew Silva, tackled Timothy Manley in the terminal early Thursday.
But she said that was after Manley punched her service dog.
She told police the attack happened after the flight from Colorado Springs landed in Orlando when "the larger service animal took up more space than Timothy felt it deserved."
Ramirez, who is deaf, spoke to Channel 9 Friday evening through a sign language interpreter.
"My fiancé started yelling at the man and said, 'Don't you ever touch our dog. Don't touch a service animal ever,'" she said. "'That's not OK.'"
Video shows Ramirez and her fiancé respond by angrily signing at Manley.
Petrini Manley, Timothy Manley's wife, told Channel 9 her husband accidentally swatted the great Dane when it startled him, but he couldn't convey that to Ramirez's fiancé.
She said her husband is an animal lover who would never intentionally harm a dog.
Petrini Manley said her son recorded video that shows Silva kicking her husband in anger -- proof that Silva was the aggressor.
But Ramirez, who is 20 weeks pregnant, said it didn't escalate into a tackle until Manley punched her in the stomach after her fiancé shouted at him.
"That's when my fiancé just became furious, because he put his hands on me and the kid and the dog," she said.
She said her fiancé was trying to keep everyone there until police arrived, but Manley's family said it never understood that and instead felt they were being held hostage.
Petrini Manley said Silva is the one who got violent first, even causing her glasses to break.
The Orlando Police Department has handed over the case to the FBI since the incident happened on a plane.
An FBI spokesman said the agency is working with OPD to determine whether anyone will be charged in the case.
A Frontier Airlines spokesperson told Eyewitness News: "The safety and security of our passengers is our top priority at Frontier. Police were immediately notified to aid in deescalating the situation."
Cox Media Group