Officer demands probation in case regarding motorized suitcase chase at Orlando airport

Chelsea Alston faces 5 years in prison if convicted of battering a police officer

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando police officer is demanding an airline passenger accused of unruly behavior receive, at minimum, a sentence of supervised probation if she enters into a plea deal with prosecutors over an incident that’s become the subject of a viral video.

The officer’s body-worn camera captured video of Chelsea Alston riding through the Orlando International Airport on a motorized suitcase last year after airline workers denied her boarding because she appeared intoxicated.

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Alston, 32, was later arrested for repeatedly spitting on the officer and damaging his patrol car.

[WATCH FULL VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT BELOW]

If convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer and criminal mischief, Alston faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each felony count.

Alston’s trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Prosecutors recently offered Alston a plea deal that would spare her any additional jail time beyond the 20 days she previously served in custody after her arrest.

During a court hearing Monday, the officer who was allegedly battered by Alston agreed with prosecutors that any plea agreement should include supervised probation.

“It happened in public, in one of the most public places you can probably imagine, the Orlando International Airport, where we’ve seen a rise of occurrences like this and behavior like this,” Orlando Police Officer Andrew Mamone said. “Spitting in my face at the height of a pandemic… warrants some level of probation here.”

Officers have arrested dozens of airline passengers at Orlando International Airport for violent or unruly behavior since the pandemic began, a recent News 6 investigation revealed.

“I feel like just giving (Alston) credit for time served probably won’t help deter this action in the future from Ms. Alston, and definitely it doesn’t help deter further action in the eye of the public,” Mamone said.

Under the proposed plea deal, Alston would be placed on supervised probation for two years and must take an anger management course.

She would also be required to pay $1,222 in restitution to the Orlando Police Department for the damaged patrol car.

“She owes restitution and she lives in New Jersey,” Orange County Circuit Judge Patricia Strowbridge said. “Without probation, there’s not a likelihood that the restitution is going to be paid.”

Alston has repeatedly refused to accept any plea deal that includes supervised probation.

“We turn down the state’s offer with the probation,” said public defender Andrew Parnell, who recently began representing Alston after she fired her private attorney. “She has no history. She’s never been arrested before.”

Jury selection is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Monday unless Alston agrees to accept the prosecution’s plea offer.


About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.