Around 6:00am on August 16, 2018, police responded to a call of an unruly passenger at the American Airlines ticket counter at Orlando International Airport.
When a passenger causes a disturbance and refuses to leave, police are called as a matter of routine.
Once there, police encountered Dr. Jeffrey Epstein. Police said Epstein began to yell as soon as he saw the officers arrive, but after talking with police, Epstein calmed down
However when he found out his behavior meant the airline would not allow him to board the plane, Epstein became "agitated" according to the police report.
A scuffle between the physically larger Epstein and three police officers ensued—which was caught on video by another passenger and shared on social media.
During the altercation, Epstein can be heard saying:
"You're treating me like a fucking black person!"
Watch the video here:
The Orlando Police Department charged Epstein with battery against a law enforcement officer, trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But after being taken into custody, Epstein complained of chest pains.
En route to the hospital, Epstein began to tell a different story of what happened. Epstein told an officer, he "created a very big disturbance and I did it on purpose."
When contacted by WESH-TV, Epstein claimed everything he did was "to prove a point."
"I'm a conservative Republican, I'm a Trump guy," Epstein said.
"But until the police fix this problem, I don't blame black people for being upset when they get arrested."
"If you're going to do this to a white doctor, who's 59-years-old, for doing nothing, then why would black people trust you?"
A white doctor at the center of a video showing him complaining that he was being "treated like a black person" dur… https://t.co/Rp7WbEeUpS— NBC News (@NBC News) 1534614122.0
People on Twitter had a few issues with the doctor's defense of his actions that started the incident and his justification of his comment about police treating him "like a fucking Black person."
A lot of people just did not believe his story.
@NBCNews https://t.co/lz9mwfCrDY— Jimbo Dim 🎲🃏 (@Jimbo Dim 🎲🃏) 1534614310.0
@NBCNews Lol that’s enough spin to make anybody nauseous.— CATE (@CATE) 1534616072.0
@NBCNews https://t.co/6xXH9gEAd2— [αω]รαɱɱ ✌🏻 (@[αω]รαɱɱ ✌🏻) 1534614532.0
@NBCNews https://t.co/HJEM3WLJ2N— David Dennison (Black version) (@David Dennison (Black version)) 1534614498.0
@NBCNews https://t.co/Ih3SRvOnRs— 🤷🏽♀️ (@🤷🏽♀️) 1534614517.0
@NBCNews Good luck with that explanation in court. His patients should try that next time they're getting a physica… https://t.co/Og9H9lOhRD— CRC (@CRC) 1534615779.0
@NBCNews Did he realize we could HEAR him??— Will B (Empty Suit) (@Will B (Empty Suit)) 1534615814.0
But others pointed out that even if the entire incident—from Epstein causing a disturbance at the ticket counter, to getting upset about not being allowed to board the flight he paid for, to getting into a fight with three police officers—was staged as Epstein claimed, his demonstration missed the mark.
Police reported speaking at length with Epstein to calm him down. On the video, police are shown still talking to the physically larger Epstein and negotiating with him until he gives them no choice but to use pepper spray.
Most people did not think that reflects how a large Black man who caused a disturbance and provoked a physical confrontation with police would be treated.
@NBCNews He didn't get tazed, beaten, or shot in the back do he failed if that was his true intent.— Lisa Cook (Ginther) (@Lisa Cook (Ginther)) 1534614223.0
@NBCNews But..... we all know about excessive force from police. The only thing he proved is white men are aware… https://t.co/tCIf8Zliz6— thoughts and prayers (@thoughts and prayers) 1534614303.0
No guns? No tasers?
@NBCNews He didn’t get shot. I didn’t see any excessive force on him with that stupidity. 🙃— Annie Nevis (@Annie Nevis) 1534614707.0
@NBCNews Well since he wasn't shot unarmed in the back i don't see the comparison ??— robert bruce newman (@robert bruce newman) 1534616239.0
In addition to making a point about police brutality, Epstein also claimed in his news interview after his arrest that he wanted to teach airlines a lesson about customer service:
"I was no danger. I was being loud because I wanted everyone to see. I wanted everything to be out in the open. Big companies have to take care of their customers, and when they call the cops in, they got to de-escalate, not escalate."
Crimes committed in the act of protesting or making a point are still prosecutable offenses. Based on his news interview and statements to police, Epstein should be pleading guilty to all charges.
No official word on how Epstein plans to plead in court has been released by the doctor at this time.