Police pepper spray, arrest doctor who acted erratically at airport

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Police officers pepper-sprayed a Lakeland doctor who acted erratically when he arrived at Orlando International Airport for a flight on Thursday.

Jeffrey Epstein is charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, trespassing after a warning and disorderly conduct, according to an arrest affidavit from the Orlando Police Department.

Police said they were called to investigate reports of an unruly passenger at the American Airlines ticket counter just before 6 a.m.

Police said that Epstein began to yell when he saw the officers arrive.

After talking with police, Epstein began to calm down, but became agitated when he learned the airline was not going to allow him to fly because of his behavior.

Police said Epstein took off his backpack, put his hands in the air and asked officers to arrest him.

Video of the incident shows Epstein and police exchange a few words before he is taken into custody.

According to the affidavit, Epstein then pulled his arms under his chest and remained tense preventing officers from handcuffing him.

During the struggle, one of the officers used pepper spray on Epstein.

After he was arrested, police said Epstein began complaining of chest pains. He was taken to a hospital and while en route he told an officer that “he created a very big disturbance and I did it on purpose,” the affidavit said.

Epstein, a doctor in Lakeland, spoke with WESH 2 News after being released from jail.

He said he was trying to make a point about police use of force. He said the disruption was done to “prove a point.”

“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?,” Epstein said. 

While outside of the jail, Epstein began talking about his political views.

“I’m a conservative Republican, I’m a Trump guy. But until the police fix this problem, I don’t blame black people for being upset when they get arrested.” 

Epstein also said he was trying 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 deescalate, not escalate,” Epstein said.

Epstein runs a geriatric practice in Lakeland.

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