Man Accused of Punching Deaf Pregnant Woman and Service Dog — but Man's Wife Says He Wasn't Aggressor
The viral video has stoked the outrage of the internet: It shows a physical confrontation between a deaf couple, the woman visibly pregnant, and a man the couple accuses of punching both the woman and their service dog.
But the wife of the Florida man the couple blames for the violence on a Frontier Airlines flight to Orlando from Colorado tells PEOPLE her husband didn’t punch anyone — and that she’s considering legal action against the deaf couple, who she says were the aggressors.
“My husband never, ever punched that woman,” Petrini Manley says. “You can see who is the aggressor in the video.”
In an interview of his own, Timothy Manley, Petrini’s husband, told ABC News that he felt what he did to the dog was a “swat” and not a hit. He claimed, “I pushed [the dog] away” because of his wife’s allergies. “I wouldn’t call it a punch.”
Of the allegation he hit the woman, he said, “It’s funny and hilarious that I would have punched her.”
Petrini says the Orlando police officers who responded to the Orlando International Airport last Thursday never interviewed her or her husband. A police report obtained by PEOPLE says both couples spoke with police but it does not include the Manleys’ account of the incident.
The report states that Mathew Silva and Hazel Ramirez, who are deaf, were on a flight from Colorado Springs with their two children and a service dog named Zariel. The dog, a Great Dane, awoke as the plane was taxiing and stood up.
“The larger service animal took up more space than Timothy felt it deserved and [he] punched it with a closed fist, causing it to yelp,” reads the report. “The dog Zariel shook her head and went under a seat. Mathew and Hazel became very upset and began yelling at Timothy as best they could. Timothy reacted by getting in Mathew’s face. At some point, Hazel was punched in the stomach by Timothy and the two children were touched by Timothy.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
At the gate and as they exited the plane, “the couples continued to argue” and the police were called.
Much of the incident was captured on video that has since gone viral.
The responding officers learned “while walking to the gate” that “an altercation was occurring. Upon our arrival, Timothy, stated it took you all long enough to get here as he walked past us to the tram area. We were told that he was one half the confrontation and Officer Emerson went back to stop and speak to him.”
In the video, Silva can be seen tackling Timothy, which he told police he did in an “attempt to detain him until police arrived.”
The case has been turned over to the FBI, which provided the following statement to PEOPLE: “We are aware of the incident and continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to determine a course of action. Generally speaking, the FBI does not release details of an investigation.”
Pregnant Woman: Man ‘Punched My Belly Then Pushed My Two Daughters’
Ramirez tells PEOPLE Zariel, her dog, slept through the nearly six-hour flight.
When “we landed, my dog woke up just like the rest of us. She got up and stretched since she’s a huge dog. She didn’t do anything to anyone. She stood behind my [fiancé], then, suddenly, the man punched my dog’s face: my dog shook her head and ran because she was hurt and scared for her life.”
Ramirez says her fiancé did get “mad and yelled at the man to tell him never touch any dogs or service animals.”
She says that Timothy Manley tried to leave before the police arrived, and “so he ran and punched my belly then pushed my two daughters…they fell and cried so hard.”
Petrini Manley, who says she is allergic to dogs, tells PEOPLE she was also knocked to the ground just prior to her husband being tackled and was “hurt” as a result.
“I was knocked down accidentally, but he just walked over me, tripped over me, and hurt me physically, never asking me if I was okay,” Petrini says. “I was hurt, so as soon as I calm down, in a few days, I may file a lawsuit. I am upset with the police that they never even asked us for our side of the story. They only took their side and filed a report.”
Frontier does permit service animals on all flights, as long as they are certified and properly harnessed.
No charges have been filed in this case yet.