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Settle One Fight From Eastern Bumping

December 22, 1987

MIAMI (AP) _ Metro-Dade County police and an irate Eastern Airlines passenger who allegedly battled them like ″Arnold Schwarzenegger″ have settled their airport fight case.

Charges against Albert Catasus will be dropped and Catasus agreed Monday not to sue Metro police or Dade County in the incident. Catasus, 65, will enter the county’s pretrial diversion program. After he completes the 60- to 90-day program, charges will be erased from the books.

″A Christmas gift for the county,″ said Catasus attorney Richard Sharpstein, who added that his client more resembled ″Saint Nicholas than Arnold Schwarzenegger.″

Catasus was among five people handcuffed and arrested Sept. 27 when police moved in to quell a disturbance among angry passengers bumped from Eastern Flight 976 from Miami to New York. Eastern had had to change planes from one that could carry 317 passengers to one with capacity for only 149.

Many passengers and witnesses charged that police overreacted when passengers complained.

Catasus was charged with resisting arrest with violence and battery on a police officer, a felony. Catasus’ attorney said Catasus tried to pull his hands away when three officers were grabbing his wrists and pulled him over a handrail.

Charges are still pending against some other passengers. Catasus, a retired machinist, is moving to Dade County.

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